Tired of all the bad news

While we can't deny the difficulites for so many people at home and overseas, it's important to take account of the positives, and to spread the Good News. I don't know who said this but; "No-one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side." Blessings..

Monday, 27 May 2013

Doing my bit for The Gathering 2013... Part 2

I'm posting a few more photographs I've taken from around Ireland over the last few years. They are scenes from summer and winter, urban and rural. We do get a lot of rain, and more than our fair share recently, but, 'rain, hail, or shine,' we have a lovely country and that is the good news. Ceád fáilte rómhaibh go leir...
Glendalough, Co. Wicklow.

Sunrise over the Irish Sea from Howth Head.

The Bailey Lighthouse in Howth

Lough Hyne, Baltimore, West Cork

Clonmacnoise Monsatic site, on the River Shannon

Long Island, near Schull, West Cork

The Deer on the 'Fifteen Acres' in the Phoenix Park, Dublin.

Suburban Dublin

An Aer Lingus Airbus A330 Short Finals into Runway 16, Dublin Airport.

A Basking Shark visits Baltimore Bay, West Cork

The Powerscourt Waterfall, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow

Near Baltimore, Co. Cork

The Powerscourt Gardens, Co. Wicklow with the Great Sugarloaf in the background

Roaringwater Bay, Co. Cork


Looking out SW into the Atlantic Ocean with the Fastnet Rock in the distance. Next Stop, New York.

Think this is Sherkin Island, West Cork

The Wellington Monument in the Phoenix Park, Dublin on Christmas Day 2010


A wintry suburban scene looking towards the Dublin Mountains

The Pigeon House chimneys at Dublin Bay

The Velvet Strand, Portmarnock, Dublin. Sir. Charles Kingsford-Smith landed here on his round the world flight in the 1920's. The Airport in Sydney is named after him.

Portmarnock Golf Club

The ribbon of light. Sun is just about to rise out over the Irish Sea from Howth Head.

Sunrise over the Irish Sea.

Just as the sun comes up, you can see the hills at Holyhead and Anglesea in North Wales, only 60 miles from Howth....

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Doing my bit for The Gathering 2013

I took these photos between 2005 and 2010. Visit Ireland! A Cead Míle fáilte is assured!
Above is a sunset at Baltimore, West Cork
 A down pour
 Sunrise from Howth, Head Co .Dublin
 An Airbus on Finals onto Dublin's Runway 10 at Sunset
 Sunset from Rochestown, Co. Cork
 The Lady's View, Killarney
 Reservoir near Macroom, Co. Cork
 Monkstown, Cork
 Muckross Park, Killarney
 The Mountains of Mourne from Gormanston Beach, Co. Meath
 The Lucky Shell Beach, Ards, Donegal
 Gouganebarra, Co. Cork
 The Great Sugarloaf, Co. Wicklow

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

A word from John Paul II...


‎”Love explained everything to me. Love solved everything for me. That is why I admire love wherever it is found. If loves is as great as it is simple, if the simplest longing can be found in nostalgia, then I can understand why God wants to be greeted by simple people; by those whose hearts are pure and find no words to express their love. God came this far and He stopped a short step away from nothingness, very close to our eyes. Perhaps life is a wave of astonishment, a wave of height and depth: Don’t ever be afraid”

Taken from one of Karol Wojtyla’s poems Song of the Hidden God.
It was used as one of the last lines in the film ‘Karol; The Man who became Pope’ about the life of Pope John Paul II

Monday, 13 May 2013

Reasons for Hope...

I have been moved and impressed in the last 24 hours by two different people and their contribution to our life and our world.

Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Air force has spent the last five months in Space aboard the International Space Station where for a time he was in command. We all got to know him down here for his breath-taking photographs of Earth from the glass cupola aboard the ISS. Every day, we were treated to stunning pictures, night shots and day shots, from all across the world of different countries, sea, lakes, mountains, cities, deserts, glaciers, and the aurora borealis. These photos came to our computer screens and our smartphones via  his Twitter and Facebook pages and we shared them generously. Evening News bulletins broadcast them across all networks and he had something for everyone. Here in Ireland, he showed us how pretty our countryside and our cities are and he even wished us all St. Patrick's Day in March with the message that he had family in Dublin.

As Astronauts and Cosmonauts before him, Colonel Hadfield showed us the beauty of our world from high up in space. Up there looking down, there are no borders, no wars, and there is no disease. From space it is possible to rise above the eye of the storm.  Millions of people are so grateful to him for his insights into how precious and beautiful our planet is among the other planets orbiting the Sun. I say a prayer for people who play their part at the cutting edge of research, science, innovation, technology, medicine and surgery for the good of humankind.

Col. Hadfield is coming home tonight aboard the Soyuz and I'm sure later on, he'll be in demand for chat shows and media the world over. I know he'll be welcome in Ireland. Have a safe trip Sir. Blessings on all who look after the ISS 'up there' and 'down here.' God Speed...

Last night, we learned of the passing of an extraordinary young man from Kerry, Donal Walsh (16 years old) He was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and he battled the disease with great bravery and courage. His story came to national prominence because he spoke to us of the problem of suicide, especially of suicide in the young. He encouraged young people who may be struggling not to hold it in but to seek help. He said that there is help out there, and that people have a choice to live while he had no choice with his terminal illness.

For a young man who was dying, he lived for others and taught a very valuable lesson to us all about strength and selflessness. We heard the sad news that Donal died at his home in Kerry last evening. For someone who was, despite his illness, a powerful example of optimism for life, I pray that from the Kingdom of God, we will feel that power still. I pray for his family left behind. May he rest in peace.

(Video footage of Donal's story can be found on YouTube and linked to most of the Irish media organisations)

Monday, 6 May 2013

I was unborn when Armstrong walked on the Moon... One Small Step

I was unborn during the Moon landings of July 1969. I’m told my mother was encouraged by the doctor to get rest and not to stay up to see the footage of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the Moon. I came along in the early 1969 and I was born in October that year. This was at the end of a decade which saw huge change in our country and in the world.

I grew up in the 1970’s and 80’s and eventually my mother had six more children. We are all grown up now and my parents are grandparents. I joined the Capuchin Order in 1987 and after 10 years of study and post-graduate study, I was ordained to the Priesthood in June 1997. I am currently assigned to our Capuchin Friary in Church Street, Dublin 7, where I am Parish Priest in the Parish of Halston Street and Church Street.
I am Pro Life. I believe that the direct killing of an unborn child is always wrong. As a priest this should be obvious. But first, as a human being I am Pro Life. My late cousin, Brendan Shortall was PRO of the Pro Life Amendment Campaign in 1983. My mother was active in Pro Life during that time too. I believe that the unborn child has an equal right to life as the life of its mother. 

I believe that zealous Pro Life and Pro Choice debate which lead to disrespect of the other is unhelpful. I am far more inclined to be impressed with someone who attempts to put across their point in a respectful and reasoned way. Slagging matches lead to more anger and more distrust of the other side.

I believe the unborn child needs a voice. She or he is growing and developing as unique human being inside the womb. Nature gives the baby the desire to live, grow, and thrive. One of my sisters is expecting a baby, an answer to prayer. The ultra sound scan photos are greeted with great joy and enthusiasm at home when she comes over after a hospital visit. We can even see who this little one looks like. My mother and my other sisters love to feel the baby move and kick and we are looking forward to the baby being born.

The Church teaches that all human life is sacred from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. I hear opinions where the Church is told to keep quiet about this, because it’s in the news media and in editorials these days. The Church doesn’t have a good historical track record regarding Child Safeguarding. We stood by while some priests and religious criminally abused children and others were complicit in the cover up of the abuse to protect the institution. But it is also emerging in the U.K. that some television and radio stars and personalities were sexually abusing children and that institutions (Media for example) knew about this and covered it up. All abuse; sexual, physical, mental, and neglect in all forms is a societal problem.  The Church in Ireland now has a most robust child safeguarding policy. It is in place in all Diocese and Religious Congregations. It is frequently under review and evolving so that best practice can be second to none. It is audited by safeguarding designated personnel in each Diocese and Congregation and is accountable to the NBSCCC and the law of the land.
I would argue that the Church has a very positive track record in the areas of social justice and being at the vanguard of working with the poor and the marginalised. You only have to look at Christian and Catholic Missionaries all over the world in the developing countries highlighting injustices. Closer to home we have Church run homeless centres, social justice action groups, and organisations to assist the needs of the most vulnerable. We can still speak for those most in need and we must.

All of us were once unborn and we needed protection and nurturing. This is a basic human right for the unborn child in the womb. Should not our Irish government, the first to introduce a Cabinet Minister for Children, speak for its most vulnerable citizens who literally have no voice? I pray our elected officials will fight to protect all human life and give equal right to life to the mother and the unborn baby. I would hope that this published Heads of Legislation which is to be debated in due course in Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann will be shelved in favour a Constitutional Referendum.