October 16, 2017

Let’s just start by saying that our driver guide, Pierce, is amazing on an average day. Logistics wizard Caoimhe (also Pierce’s wife) has ensured our pilgrimage has been nothing but smooth sailing. But today — today they took it to another level all together.

Hurricane Ophelia made landfall in the south of Ireland this morning, bringing some serious weather and damage to that part of the island. As we left County Donegal, it was breezy and drizzly, but not too bad. Pierce assured us he’d take no silly chances or drive us into anything unsafe, and sure enough — despite stiff winds, plenty of rain, and some downed tree brances — we’ve arrived safely in Thurles. Thank you all for your prayers.

Our morning was spent touring the Belleek Pottery Museum, where we got to watch craftspeople create and decorate the famous pottery. The work they do is truly art.

The weather was also kind enough to hold until we’d had a chance to pray a decade of the rosary at the Tobernalt holy well. In penal times, the Catholic faith was practiced in secret, in secluded, informal settings. In the footsteps of those who kept the faith before us, we offered our prayers of thanksgiving.

Once we arrived safely in Thurles, we celebrated Mass in the Cathedral of the Assumption. And we were thrilled to visit with Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly later that evening!


(All photos by Katherine Long for the Sun)

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