Thursday, July 14, 2011

Scots roots and whisky





Travels in Stranraer-Edinburgh

"Whit's your hurry?" Stay awhile and hear ye o' Sco'tland.

Traces of the resurgence of Catholicism which blossomed after the restoration of the Church hierarchy to Scotland in the 19th century include the enlarged cathedral of St Mary in Edinburgh.

The gothic façade is all that remains of the original structure built to serve the faithful in the hostile environs of Scotland’s capital city in a location chosen for its inconspicuousness in an effort to throw off the mob violence which resulted in periodic vandalism. The interior had a somewhat neglected air to it on the day of our visit as there was no recognizable location for the Blessed Sacrament, there being no burning tabernacle lamp that I could indentify.The main tabernacle under the canopy behind the main altar was partially obscured by a flower arrangement.

About half a dozen local ladies awaited the start of the advertised 10 am Communion service. A 12:45 daily Mass was also posted. Among the details of decoration were the bright colors festooning the roof beams and some worthy artpieces for the devotion of the faithful.

Day dawns around 4:30 am here this time of year. An hour’s run around the city started the second day off in the Scots capital with a second look at the Royal Mile, the castle and Holyrood palace, the Catholic high school of St Thomas of Aquin, a lush-lawned city park, and the gorgeous architectural gem of the George Heriot school.

A mid-morning visit with cousins Fiona and Amanda took place on what would have been their recently deceased “mum’s” 80th birthday. Recollections of their family visit to the US for my sister’s wedding and catching up on their life news helped us reconnect. They were pleased that I offered morning Mass for the repose of their mother, Renee’s, soul.

Whisky tasting followed quickly upon a decision to bail on the initimidating queue awaiting admission to the castle. Then it was time to check out of our digs and make for the coast and an overnight at Stranraer in anticipation of the next-day ferry back to Northern Ireland.

En route we stopped along the coast south of the town of Maybole at the castle at Culzean, once a mainstay of the Kennedy clan and now run by the National Trust and also the golf club at Turnberry, marked by a lighthouse along the coastal road. Brilliant sunshine and cool breezes added to a pleasant exploration.

I can see our destination of Belfast quickly approaching through the ferry windows. Gotta run.

"Come ye back." More soon and thanks for visiting!

((((..))))

Photos, top to bottom, thistle, national flower of Scotland, on the coast at Stranraer, statue and interior of St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh.

1 comment:

gaymoore said...

Vicariously enjoying your vacation so much, Father. Don't forget to stop at Timoleague Abbey!
Gay

Thank you for visiting.

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