- This is My Hadji Bey
- Eurovision in a Cowshed
- The Boll Weevil 3: On the Waterfront
- A Year in Brocante 11: An Easter Egg
- A Year in Brocante 10: Upscaling and Hacking
- Kevin Pearce
- The Bol Weavil and the Lightning Bug 2: On the Ground
- The Boll Weevil and the Lightning Bug 1: A Home in Ireland
- Love In The Air
TagsAhakista Air India Disaster 1985 Air India Memorial Anglo Irish Bank Annecy Annie Proulx Antique Glove Stretcher Berlin Bird Cloud Bogliosco Bring Flowers of the Rarest brocantes CERN Child of Mary Cork Cork 800 Cork Major Emergency Plan Cork University Hospital CUH Darina Allen Diana Henry Diarmuid Gavin Fete de St André Finnegan’s Wake French Alps Geneva Gloves Haute Savoie Irish Press Lake Annecy Laurel Hill Convent Le Presbytere Luca Pastorino Martin Dwyer Mary McAleese Mary Robinson Molly Keane Muppet Movie NAMA New Yorker magazine OJ Simpson RTE Sean Dunne Team Rwanda The Smell of Lilac
This weekend is one of the busiest in the year in Ireland for First Holy Communions. First Communion is a right of passage for every 7-8 year old Catholic child, their first time to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist having prepared spiritually by making their First Confession. In Ireland First Communion has always been a big deal. Traditionally the boys wear white shirts and school ties and blazers with medaled rosettes and the girls white frocks and veils. Traditionally also, family and adult friends gift the child with money.
Over the years, the parties and celebrations for Holy Communion, the outfits worn and the amounts of money the child ‘earns’ became more and more lavish. During the Celtic Tiger years in Ireland, there were stretch limos to collect the Communicants, designer dresses, tiaras and fake tans for the girls and afterwards, huge parties with inflatable ‘bouncy castles’ for the children and champagne receptions for the adults.
Now, of course, Ireland has got a good slap and been told to go back into their corner on the furthermost western reaches of Europe and behave themselves, and this weekend there is far less ostentation surrounding the First Communions. The Saturday magazine section of the Irish Times newspaper has a “What’s Hot” column which notes modes and mores for the week. Its “What’s Not (Hot)” includes – mock nostalgically – “Communions. Sad to see the old traditions dying out. Hardly anyone arrives at the church by helicopter in a Vera Wang designed dress anymore.”
In Dublin the other day, I was passing through Dunnes Stores and stopped, entranced, by their accessories display of the most fabulously designed and produced jewellery and hair baubles, ranging in price from €2.99 to €12.99. A small woman with a lovely gentle voice and fine, softly curled hair stood beside me sayiing “It’s so hard to choose, isn’t it?” I said that indeed it was, and she showed me a pearl necklace (€5.99) and matching stud earrings (€2.99) she was thinking of buying and asked my opinion on the purchase. I told her they were perfect for her, so classic. “It’s my granddaughter’s First Communion in Wexford on Saturday” she said “and I don’t want to upstage her. I mean, it’s her day, isn’t it? My outfit is red, white and blue…..you don’t think that’s too loud?” I told her not at all, that again, red white and blue were classic summer colours and very French and stylish, as were the understated pearls. She went off smiling and happy. I went to visit my Aunt and 92 year old uncle and they were looking forward to attending a grandson’s First Communion in Celbridge to-day. A friend called to daughter Lucy in Kinsale this morning for breakfast before going to church, apologizing on the doorstep for being late as she had been on “parsley cutting duty” at home for her niece’s party and tomorrow we go to Naas to a luncheon for a nephew’s First Communion, but will miss another nephew’s big day in Carrigaline next week.
On the way back from Kinsale after lunch to-day we passed a house with an ENORMOUS bouncy castle in the garden and knew immediately that it was First Communion day in that family. The full to overflowing car park of a popular suburban bar/restaurant along the road told the same story.
Being back in Ireland is great. The place is bankrupt – the health board has told the staff in old peoples’ homes to cut back on the number of incontinence pads they use (the hospitals refused) and it is freezing cold, grey, wet and miserable. The posters for the May 31st fiscal treaty referendum at the end of the month are flapping in the biting wind. The common feeling is “we’re fkd if we do and we’re fkd if we don’t.”)
But be it ever so humble etc…….if we only had a half decent economy and some good weather, Ireland would be a great little country entirely.