Thursday 31 May 2018

Our Gaelic Christian Heritage (Part 4)

As the Penal Laws took hold through the 18th Century, it was State policy to ensure that the resources of a persecuted Catholic People dwindled. In the Lament for Kilcash, the death of Lady Margaret Butler of Kilcash, and with her, a source of benevolent patronage for Catholics.

The central theme is contained in the lines "bhíodh iarlaí ag tarraingt tar toinn ann, is an t-aifreann binn á rá." Nobles made their way o'er the waves thence, and there the sweet Mass was said. The poem is variously attributed.

Caoine Cill Cháis

Cad a dhéanfaimid feasta gan adhmad?
Tá deireadh na gcoillte ar lár;
níl trácht ar Chill Cháis ná ar a teaghlach
ní bainfear a cloig go bráth.
An áit úd a gcónaiodh an deighbhean
fuair gradam is meidhir thar mhná,
bhíodh iarlaí ag tarraingt tar toinn ann
is an t-aifreann binn á rá.

Ní chluinim fuiaim lachan ná gé ann,
ná fiolar ag éamh sois cuain,
ná fiú na mbeacha chun saothair
thabharfadh mil agus céir don tslua.
Níl ceol binn milis na n-éan ann
le hamharc an lae a dhul uainn,
ná an chuaichín i mbarra na ngéag ann,
ós í chuirfeadh an saol chun suain.

Tá ceo ag titim ar chraobha ann
ná glanann le gréin ná lá,
tá 'smúid ag titim ón spéir ann
is a cuid uisce g léir ag trá.
Níl coll, níl cuileann, níl caor ann,
ach clocha is maolchlocháin,
páirc an chomhair gan chraobh ann
is d' imigh an géim chun fáin.

Anois mar bharr ar gach míghreanní,
chuaigh prionsa na nGael thar sáil
anonn le hainnir na míne
fuair gradam sa bhFrainc is sa Spáinn.
Anois tá a cuallacht á caoineadh,
gheibbeadh airgead buí agus bán;
's í ná tógladh sillbh na ndaoine,
ach cara na bhfíorbhochtán.

Aicim ar Mhuire is ar Íosa
go dtaga sí arís chughainn slán,
go mbeidh rincí fada ag gabháil timpeall,
ceol veidhlín is tinte cnámh;
go dtógtar an baile seo ár sinsear
Cill Chais bhreá arís go hard,
's go bráth nó go dtiocfaidh
an dílená feictear é arís ar lár.

Or in an English version:

Now what will we do for timber,
With the last of the woods laid low?
There's no talk of Cill Chais or its household
And its bell will be struck no more.
That dwelling where lived the good lady
Most honoured and joyous of women
earls made their way over wave there
And the sweet Mass once was said.

Ducks' voices nor geese do I hear there,
Nor the eagle's cry over the bay,
Nor even the bees at their labour
Bringing honey and wax to us all.
No birdsong there, sweet and delightful,
As we watch the sun go down,
Nor cuckoo on top of the branches
Settling the world to rest.

A mist on the boughs is descending
Neither daylight nor sun can clear.
A stain from the sky is descending
And the waters receding away.
No hazel nor holly nor berry
But boulders and bare stone heaps,
Not a branch in our neighbourly haggard,
and the game all scattered and gone.

Then a climax to all of our misery:
the prince of the Gael is abroad
oversea with that maiden of mildness
who found honour in France and Spain.
Her company now must lament her,
who would give yellow money and white
she who'd never take land from the people
but was friend to the truly poor.

I call upon Mary and Jesus
to send her safe home again:
dances we'll have in long circles
and bone-fires and violin music;
that Cill Chais, the townland of our fathers,
will rise handsome on high once more
and till doom - or the Deluge returns -
we'll see it no more laid low.

Sunday 27 May 2018

Pilgrimage to Loughrea, County Galway

Members and friends of the Catholic Heritage Association returned in pilgrimage to Saint Brendan's Cathedral, Loughrea, the jewel of the Celtic Arts and Crafts revival. A report of the 2017 pilgrimage can be found here. The Mass was offered for the unborn as it was the morning of the vote count for the Referendum on the 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution.

The Cathedral's website can be found here.

The Buildings of Ireland survey with additional images of the architectural detail can be found here

Roaringwater Journal gives a really good detailed view of the art of the Cathedral here.

The Dictionary of Irish Architects gives details of the works of the Cathedral here.

Aidan McRae Thompson's excellent flickr album of the Cathedral can be accessed here.

Wikipedia has a short account of the Cathedral here.

Monday 21 May 2018

Latin Mass Pilgrimage to Duiske Abbey

Once again, the Catholic Heritage Association is organising a Pilgrimage to ancient Duiske Abbey, Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny, on the shores of the beautiful River Barrow.

Traditional Latin Mass at 2 p.m. on Saturday, 16th June.

Come and Pray!

Sunday 6 May 2018

Pilgrimage to Holy Cross Abbey 2018

To make a pilgrimage to Holy Cross Abbey, Holycross, Co. Tipperary, is to walk the path to Calvary and to walk in the footsteps of almost nine centuries of pilgrims. The Abbey was once home to the monks of the great Cistercian Order.

The Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland (1900) says of it: "This monastic ruin is considered to rank in popular esteem as one of the first, if not the very first, in Ireland. It is situated on the western bank of the Suir about seven miles north of Cashel. It was founded in 1182 by Donald O'Brien, king of Limerick, for the Cistercian monks; but is said to owe its origin and name to the possession of piece of the True Cross, presented in 1110 by Pope Pascal II to Murrough O'Brien, monarch of Ireland... The Abbey is appropriately built in the form of a cross, with nave, chancel and transept, and a lofty, square belfrey at the intersection of the cross. In both transepts are two distinct chapels beautifully groined. It was endowed with special privileges, and the abbot was a peer of parliament with the title of Earl of the Holy Cross."

Further details can be found on PilgrimageMedievalIreland including that: "in 1567 the Lord deputy complaining to the Queen wrote ‘there is no small conflunence of people still resorting to the holy cross’. In 1579 James Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald is said to have venerated the relic of the cross at the abbey a few weeks before his death at the hands of the Burkes, while 1583 Dermot O’Hurley archbishop of Cashel made a pilgrimage to the shrine shortly before his capture by the English. The relic of the cross would have attracted people from all classes and in 1586 Camden writes of the ‘famous abbey’ to which the people still come to do reverence to the relic of the Holy Cross’. He goes on to say ‘It is incredible what a concourse of people still throng hither out of devotion. For this nation obstinately adheres to the religion of superstition of their forefathers.’"

Good old Wikipedia adds a poignant detail: "The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland recount that in 1601, Prince Hugh Roe O'Donnell, on his way to the Battle of Kinsale, true to his family arms and Constantinian motto (In Hoc Signo Vinces) and in anticipation of the battle to come at Kinsale, visited and venerated a relic of the True Cross (Holy rood) on the Feast of St. Andrew, on November 30, 1601 at Holy Cross Abbey. At that period it was a rallying point for the defence of religious freedom and for Irish sovereignty. From there he sent an expedition to Ardfert, to win a quick victory and successfully recover the territory of his ally, Fitzmaurice, Lord of Kerry, who had lost it and his 9-year-old son, to Sir Charles Wilmot. It was the last victory before the defeat at Kinsale."

Archiseek has, as ever, some excellent images of the abbey and add that "it became a scheduled national monument in 1880, 'to be preserved and not used as a place of worship'" However, a special Holycross Act was passed by the Irish Parliament, the Oireachtas, to allow the Church to be restored to its intended use and as the old song has it: "is an t-aifreann binn á rá" (and the sweet Mass was said there once more).

Our third pilgrimage in the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly in recent months and following also in the footsteps of 'Ecclesia Dei - Ireland' that had held aloft the banner of the Traditional Latin Mass for so many years, we returned on the 5th May, the traditional time close to the old Feast of the Holy Cross on 3rd May, for the 26th Annual Latin Mass Pilgrimage to Holy Cross Abbey. Faugh a Ballagh!

Thursday 3 May 2018

Sletty (Walsh)

The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter lviii, at p. 620:

Sletty in the barony of Sleevemarge The see of St Fiech the disciple and favorite of St Patrick and to whom the apostle presented many valuable gifts St Aidus bishop of Sletty who died in 699 and whose name occurs in the Irish calendars at the 7th of February and to whom a life of St Patrick was addressed by a writer called Macuthenus was one of the fathers who composed the synod of Flann Febhla primate of Armagh and of St Adamnan abbot of Hy Seven disciples of St Fiech rest in Sletty Moehatoc Augustin Tegan Dermot Nennid Paul a hermit and Fedhlim

Wednesday 2 May 2018

80th Grand Master of the Order of Malta

It has been announced from the Grand Magistry of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, known as the Order of Malta, that Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto has been elected 80th Grand Master of the Order today. The newly elected Grand Master will swear his oath before the Pope’s Special Delegate to the Sovereign Order of Malta, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, and the members of the Council Complete of State tomorrow morning in the Church of Santa Maria in Aventino. Long live the Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta!

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Our Gaelic Christian Heritage (Part 3)

The figure of High King Brian Boru stands astride the history of Gaelic Ireland like a colossus. Although not of the Uí Neill dynasty that had ruled Ireland since Niall Noígiallach (Niall of the Nine Hostages) in the 5th Century, Boru showed himself to be the strongest and most fit for the throne. It is a testimony to the cultural stability of Gaelic Ireland that Máel Sechnaill II, who had abdicated the High Kingship in his favour, was also his successor when his line was extinguished at the Battle of Clontarf on Good Friday, 23rd April, 1014.

Perhaps the greatest 'what if' in Irish history is 'what if Brian Boru had survived the Battle of Clontarf'. It is conceivable that Ireland could have taken a great leap forward towards unity or feudalism at a moment when Robert the Pious struggled to maintain his throne, even against his own sons, and when St. Henry II found it difficult to gain recognition for his claim to the Imperial throne. At the time, Spain was struggling for survival against the Moors and Richard, Duke of Normandy, grandfather of William the Bastard, was withstanding a revolt of peasants. An Ireland united culturally and spiritually under the leadership of a powerful and dynamic dynasty would surely have been a very different one from the one seen from Bannow Bay in 1169.

While a good deal of romanticism surrounds our perceptions of Boru and Clontarf - and over-simplification of issues - it should be noted that Gaelic Ireland avoided the fate of England, which received Canute as King the following year. It was another class of Viking, the Normans of Wales, who descended a century later to begin the most sorrowful chapters of Irish history.

The following is a poetical account by William Kennealy of the address of King Brian, holding aloft the Crucifix, to his troops before the Battle of Clontarf:

"Stand ye now for Erin's glory! Stand ye now for Erin's cause!
Long ye've groaned beneath the rigor of the Northmen's savage laws.
What though brothers league against us? What, though myriad be the foe?
Victory will be more honored in the myriads' overthrow.

"Proud Connacians! oft we've wrangled in our petty feuds of yore;
Now we fight against the robber Dane upon our native shore;
May our hearts unite in friendship, as our blood in one red tide,
While we crush their mail-clad legions, and annihilate their pride!

"Brave Eugenians! Erin triumphs in the sight she sees to-day-
Desmond's homesteads all deserted for the muster and the fray!
Cluan's vale and Galtees' summit send their bravest and their best-
May such hearts be theirs forever, for the Freedom of the West!

"Chiefs and Kernes of Dalcassia! Brothers of my past career,
Oft we've trodden on the pirate-flag that flaunts before us here;
You remember Inniscattery, how we bounded on the foe,
As the torrent of the mountain bursts upon the plain below!

"They have razed our proudest castles , spoiled the Temples of the Lord,
Burned to dust the sacred relics, put the Peaceful to the sword,
Desecrated all things holy, as they soon may do again;
If their power to-day we smite not, if to-day we be not men!

"On this day the God-man suffered - look upon the sacred sign;
May we conquer 'neath its shadow, as of old did Constantine!
May the heathen tribe of Odin fade before it like a dream,
And the triumph of this glorious day in our future annuals gleam!

"God of heaven, bless our banner, nerve our sinews for the strife!
Fight we now for all that's holy, for our altars, land and life,
For red vengeance on the spoiler, whom the blazing temples trace,
For the honor of our maidens and the glory of our race!

"Should I fall before the foeman, 'tis the death I seek to-day;
Should ten thousand daggers pierce me, bear my body not away,
Till this day of days be over, till the field is fought and won;
Then the holy Mass be chanted, and the funeral rites be done.

"Men of Erin! men of Erin! grasp the battle-ax: and spear!
Chase these Northern wolves before you like a herd of frightened deer!
Burst their ranks, like bolts from heaven! Down, on the heathen crew,
For the glory of the Crucified, and Erin's glory too!"