St. Mary of the Angels Church, Church Street
The Augustinian Church, Thomas Street
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Whitefriar Street
St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral, Marlborough Street
The Seven Sacraments and Fourteen Stations of the Cross stained glass windows in St. Michan’s church.
On Thursday 14th June twelve adventurous sixth class pupils comprising M. Moore, A. Crean Lynch, E. Kelly, A. Dalton, J. Whelan, C. McCarthy, C. Lawson Gallagher, O. Curtis Davis, S. Connolly, A. Fidgeon, C. Gregan and D. O’Boyle accompanied Ms Connor and Mr Keaveny on the Pilgrim Walk organised in conjunction with the International Eucharistic Congress. The walk entailed visiting seven churches located within easy distance of the city centre, St. Michan’s, Halston Street, St. Mary of the Angels, Church Street, St. James’s, James Street, The Augustinian Church, Thomas Street, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Whitefriar Street, St. Ann’s, Dawson Street and the St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral, Marlborough Street. We boarded the city-bound bus outside the school at 9.10am and reached our destination at 9.50am. Our first port of call was the GPO where we looked at the bronze statue of Cuchulainn, then on to Moore Street where we observed a small plaque on a semi-derelict shop front marking the place where the 1916 leaders surrendered. We then headed for St. Michan’s church beside the Fruit Market on the first leg of our walk. We arrived as 10a..m. Mass was coming to a close. The celebrant welcomed us and invited us to identify ourselves. We received our Pilgrim Walk passports and had them stamped. We were greatly impressed by the large stained glass windows which were decorated in vibrant colours.The sacristan described them as “teaching windows”. In days gone by they were used as educational aids to teach the Stations of the Cross and the Seven Sacraments. Next stop was St. Mary of the Angels in Church Street. Having stamped our passports we took time to examine the exceptionally high ceiling and marvel at the intricate design of the original altar that was preserved behind the modern version. As we walked past the Jameson Distillery Visitors’ Centre we were reminded of the ancestors of that same family who were the original patrons of St. Marnock’s School when it was established in 1868. We crossed the Liffey via the James Joyce bridge and attacked the steep incline which leads up to James’s Street. The whiff of the Guinness brewery lingered in the air causing some children to pinch their noses. We arrived at St. James’s church and noted the head of Daniel O’Connell carved in stone and wearing a crown supporting the arch over the entrance door. It transpired that he laid the foundation stone for the church. The crown symbolised the title of “uncrowned king of Ireland” ascribed to him for his brilliant parliamentary debating skills and his unrivalled success at a defence lawyer in the courts. We also learned of the connection between St. James’s church and the 1916 leaders who were executed in Kilmainham Jail just a short distance down the road. Priests from St. James’s church ministered to the condemned leaders before they faced the firing squads and a priest from St. James’ married Joseph Mary Plunkett and Grace Gifford in the prison before he faced his executioners. It was now time for a food break on the steps of the church where we could observe fellow pilgrims come and go. Having restored our energy levels we proceeded to the Augustinian church in Thomas Street with the Guinness brewery occupying the streetscape on either side. We queued in the foyer to have our passports stamped before entering the church proper which was very spacious and wonderfully adorned with marble columns and stained glass windows. After a brief sojourn we crossed the road and walked down Francis Street which is noted for antique shops, crossed Patrick Street and skirted the grounds of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. In no time Our Lady of Mount Carmel church in Whitefriar Street came into view and St. Stephen’s Green was but a short distance away. A service catering for a large congregation was in progress so we didn’t delay. A quick glance at our watches told us that our planned picnic in St. Stephen’s Green would have to be put on the long finger as we could not afford to miss our bus home. We briskly made our way round the Green to St. Ann’s church in Dawson Street before passing through Trinity College’s inner courtyards enroute to the seventh and final church on our list. We entered the Pro Cathedral which has acted as the mother church of the Dublin Catholic Archdiocese since the time of St. Laurence O’Toole at 1p.m., collected our Pilgrim Walk Certificates, recited the Congress prayer and reflected on our accomplishment. Three hours after our expedition commenced we posed for a final photograph on the steps of the cathedral before paying a brief visit to purchase some well-earned treats in the conveniently located pound shop in North Earl Street. With minutes to spare we reached our bus stop in Abbey Street opposite the Abbey Theatre and within forty five minutes were back in the school feeling tired but pleased with our achievement.
I See His Blood Upon the Rose by Joseph Mary Plunkett (1887-1916)
I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of His eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.
I see his face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but His voice — and carven by His power
Rocks are His written words.
All pathways by His feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.