Excitement grows as Pope’s visit to Knock is confirmed

Dear readers, we have such a glut of high news this last week. First up, of course, is the visit of the Pope to Ireland at the end of August. I never thought I would be excited about it but hearing about the details of the itinerary I can just imagine the wonderful furore that will be created when he arrives amongst us.

I am so glad that Pope Francis is going to the west of Ireland on his travels to Knock.

It is very good that he sees it in all its splendour. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was this gorgeous fine weather such as we had for the last four weeks, if that could be around when he arrived here at the end of August.

I just think it would be very good for Ireland and I forecast now that there will be huge crowds everywhere. The commentators, of course, keep harking back to thirty-nine years ago when the last Pope came here and all the thousands who turned up everywhere – in Croke Park, in Knock, in Limerick, etc. and they keep saying “Oh! there won’t be anything like that now, Ireland has lost its fervour. Look at the half-empty churches, etc.”

I am of the opinion that the Irish people will rise to the call of Pope Francis and that there will be great enthusiasm and excitement when he does come amongst us.

That news, of course, is one of anticipatory excitement. What about the present excitement of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un and their historic meeting in Singapore on Monday night/Tuesday morning? I actually never thought that would happen. But, it did happen, and if the two of them fulfill what they initially have promised in this first meeting, it will mean, for the world, a greater era of peace.

It is hard to believe that, a couple of months ago, they were trading insults with one another but let’s be grateful for what has happened and hope that, in the future, more will be realised.

The good weather has us all, I think, in a euphoric state of mind, though I believe that by the time you read this in the pages of the Advertiser, the heavenly weather will have come to an end and we will be faced with the usual June showers and dullness. But, the weather forecasters are promising that, come the end of June, there will be another big lift. So, let’s all hope that that’s the part of the climate change that we are enjoying.

The Irish rugby team met their match in Brisbane, Australia last Saturday when the Wallabies had a fine game and gave them a thumping defeat. It’s so understandable that, fresh from all the victories which they have had including the Grand Slam, Leinster and all of the other triumphs, to meet then with a fresher Wallabies team on Australian home turf was a big ask and even a bigger one awaits them next Saturday in Melbourne.

I was reduced to listening to it on the radio and it was muffled enough on the ordinary radio, but a kindly young neighbour came in and got me 2FM radio on the TV. Yes, it was still only sound but it was clear as a bell and it was so obvious, as the game went on, that Ireland were on the back foot.

Joe Schmidt is going to have to do some hard thinking, using the team more productively before next Saturday.

I followed a few of the fine GAA games over the weekend, some on TV, some on the radio. There was a very good hurling game between Tipperary and Clare in which Clare won by two points.

Then into the Midlands, there was a good game between Laois and Carlow which ended in a win for Laois. Carlow had been on the rise over the last few weeks but Laois put an end to that.

Westmeath were trounced by Armagh in the GAA football but they are more than holding their own in the McDonagh Cup in hurling. In two weeks’ time they will be in the final of that.

Of course, we are all looking forward to Roscommon and Galway next weekend in the Hyde Park in Roscommon. There will be a limited amount of tickets and huge numbers looking for them. The game will be played as the lead game on TV so we have something good to look forward to.

All in all, a collaboration of terrific GAA games over last weekend.

It was very interesting to see the new Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, with his new Cabinet in which there are twelve female ministers with six male members. So, Sanchez is really showing the way with his more than gender equality.

Last weekend also, I saw a terrific old film on RTE1 TV, Casablanca. Now, I’m sure many of the readers will have seen it before but I had missed it each time it was put on and I found myself thoroughly engrossed in the wonderful acting of Ingrid Bergman and Humphry Bogart.

It is a real oldie, set in Morocco, in the year 1941/42, when the Nazi’s occupied that part of French Morocco. The interplay between the main actors was wonderful but, particularly, the poignant story of Ingrid Bergman and Humphry Bogart, and the playout of that, was enthralling. A great story and great acting – play it again Sam!

On Wednesday of this week I am going to the Talbot Hotel in Wexford to speak at an Age Action event at the behest of Councillor Michael Sheehan of New Ross in Wexford.

The panel will be a mix of the ICA, Age Action and Political Representatives so it should be a good all-rounder. I always like any visit I make to Wexford.

They’re a hospitable county and the Talbot Hotel, where it is being held, is one of those sound old-fashioned hotels which always exudes hospitality and a fine welcome.

That’s my lot for this week. Hope to talk with you all next week.In the meantime, go safely.

Slán go Fóill

Mary O’Rourke

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