Date Published: 28-Apr-2011
The great joys of Easter were many in my day – but the ultimate delight, of course, was Easter morning when you finally cracked open that chocolate egg and took part in the absolute gorge which was on among kids all over the country.
I think that in those days more than 50 years ago there was more of a sense of the solemnity of the Lenten and Easter seasons . . . certainly the various observances were taken a lot more seriously, the fasts and abstinences were rigidly enforced.
As a result, perhaps we arrived at Easter morning with a greater sense of the impending occasion, our very intake of bread, meat, even the contents of what might make up a soup or a gravy, having been interpreted by a much more rigid church . . . which maybe might have been better employed had it been a little less into the externals of observance.
Perhaps it was because they were more innocent times, but there was a genuine feeling of being bereft and almost alone on a Good Friday, with the purple hangings on the sacred pictures and statues in the church, the altar utterly bare, the tabernacle gaping wide open, giving a sense of deprivation.
As youngsters, we crept into the church on the Good Friday with a feeling of awe for the interminable prayers and chanting in Latin. The churches were packed with the faithful, the air of something momentous being commemorated was inescapable. It all seems so far removed from the somewhat matter-of-fact air which seems to pervade today even on solemn occasions like the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.
It was hardly surprising then that the air of celebration was so palpable on the evening of Easter Saturday when the churches were again packed to capacity for the ‘Easter Ceremonies’. For hours beforehand, my father would be busily engaged in a shaving ritual that took half an hour, getting his clean collar out, busily searching about for the various collar studs, knotting the best tie, polishing the shoes and generally fussing about to see that we were all spick-and-span for the occasion.
We lived no distance from the church, and they sounded a bell to tell the faithful that the ceremonies were 25 minutes away from starting, and then another to announce that we had just 5 minutes. Nothing would do my fussy father but to announce that the ‘25-to’ bell was in fact the ‘5-to’ and that we’d all be late.
The luminous Westclox on the mantelpiece, which controlled all our lives, might well be telling the real time, but his answer to that was ‘that clock is slow’. The only way to find peace was make a dash for the door with him behind us, scattering Holy Water from the font inside the door with all the gusto of a Holy Saturday celebrant before the choir and organ eventually broke out into a Gloria in Excelsis Deo that shook a town.
No one ever came in, or out, our front door without a drenching of Holy Water. And at night you might be warm and well tucked-up in bed, but when he was passing the bed, there was another cold splash of water from the font over the mantle in the bedroom.
Despite the shock of the cold splash, I found it comforting betimes . . . especially if I had been to the local flea pit, seen the latest Dracula film and knew that one thing that definitely kept vampires away was Holy Water.
All that feeling of being in some way spiritually connected became more mundane with the gorge of eggs on Easter Sunday morning. They were an extraordinary luxury at a time when very few families had any money to spend . . . that was in the days when, if you wanted something, you saved for it and then the family got it. All families budgeted every week to get by.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Judge adjourns Connemara assault case
Date Published: 08-May-2013
A date will be set next October for the trial of a 52-year old Connemara man, who is charged with assaulting traditional Irish musician Noel Hill five years ago.
Michael Folan from Teach Mór, Lettermullen, is charged with intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Noel Hill at Tí Padraig Mairtín Beag in Leitir Mór, on St Stephen’s Day, 2008.
The matter had been listed for trial on several occasions before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in the intervening period.
It was referred to the High Court in Dublin last year for judicial review after Michael Folan said he wanted his trial heard ‘as Gaeilge’and that a bi-lingual jury be made available to hear the case.
At Galway Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Rory McCabe adjourned the case for mention to October when it’s expected a date will be set for trial.
Bank of Ireland Galway Shopping Centre branch to close
Date Published: 10-May-2013
Bank of Ireland’s branch at Galway Shopping Centre on the Headford Road is to close in July.
The branch is to merge into the BOI outlet at Galway Industrial Estate in Mervue.
Galway Bay fm news reports the 14 staff impacted are to be offered redeployment and there will be no job losses.
Galway RNLI rescues three people stranded on Hare Island
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway RNLI Lifeboat has come to the rescue of three students who got stranded on Hare Island after getting caught in the tide off Ballyloughan Beach.
The two girls and boy, in their late teens had gone for a walk and were spotted waving from the island by a local resident who contacted the emergency Services and Galway Lifeboat.
Conditions at the time (4pm) were very changeable with heavy showers.
Three members of the Lifeboat shore crew were working in the vicinity of the station at the time and launched the boat in six minutes.
The three students were picked up safely and brought back to the Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks where they were warmed up and given tea and did not require medical attention.