Séamus Ahearne on flower power, Word power and Indi power…

Rhododendrons, Bluebells and Dandelions

A carpet of bluebells:

A text came from M. She announced that her bluebells had appeared. I was nostalgic. My past loomed large. The carpet of bluebells in Curraghmore (near Portlaw in Waterford) flashed on the screen of my mind. I loved their arrival. It intrigued me that these flowers could blossom under the trees. They harnessed for nourishment, the glints of light sneaking through the branches. I remembered also a wedding in Clonea Power. Sharon & Shane. They went to Curraghmore Estate for photos on that carpet before the Wedding. Sharon’s bouquet was a handful of those bluebells. Her family had lived and worked on Curraghmore estate. Our families shared a happy past.


Connemara National Park:

There was a news item during the week. It concerned an invasive scrub colonising the Connemara National Park. It had to be attacked and murdered. I am fond of that scrub. One of my faraway memories is that of my father asking us to spell the name. Rhododendron. I have no idea how long that particular test went on with us but it is vivid in my mind. I loved the flowers too and we used to play hide and seek among the widespread scrubs. Whatever about the rhododendron; my cowslip at the door is blooming and is welcoming to all callers. It likes its friends too. Dandelions. Our photographer tells us that these beautiful flowers are essential food for the bees who are central to the biodiversity story.


The disgraced Heron:

I must protest. It is quite unacceptable. It is a sin against logic: A rush from the particular to the general. The news broke from the UCD Campus in Belfield. It was loud and almost said with pleasure. A heron was seen with a duckling in its beak. That wasn’t our heron from the Tolka. Our heron is not like that. It is patient and still. It feeds from the water. It watches and waits. The ducklings splash around in the vicinity. My thoughts are these: The UCD heron is an upstart. It has gone to college. It thinks it can do anything and everything. It is brazen and it has let down all herons. Our heron is embarrassed by the behaviour of that student.


Fake or Fortune:

I had seen Fake or Fortune (BBC1) last week. It was Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould who do the investigation of notable artwork to check their provenance and authenticate the pieces. They worked (last week) on some water coloured sketches supposedly by Henry Moore. Moore likes big exaggerated nude figures for his sculptures. Small elongated heads and bulbous bodies. It never really impresses me. But the investigation does. The example of the programme I used to illustrate the Gospel story of last weekend. (John’s version, Luke’s version, the appearances, the stories). I didn’t do it too well but it was only one of the stories I portrayed. It was the forensic examination that mattered to me. The search. The layers of meaning. The history. It reminded me so much of how we look at Scripture. Again the layers. The varying stories. The message behind the stories. The reason why this was written and where and when. And then the application to our own lives. We can never be superficial with Scripture. There is an unveiling and a revealing and a humility before it all. How important it is then that the Word we hear and the Word that is spoken, is clear and familiar and uncluttered and never grating but challenging.

The final Show:

Tommy Tiernan has finished his series. I have watched some Shows. I like him. The unknown characters that appear and the surprises. The easy questioning spirit Tommy has, and yet how he draws people out. Saturday was yet another such Programme. The two women. What friendship meant. What love is. Having a child for a friend – that was so moving. It is delicate. It is difficult. There are many strands around the whole issue. Probably too intimate and too serious for such a Show. But I want to focus alone on these two women; it was a very touching picture. I recall some similar stories and the concerns around them. The Show concluded with an overdressed lady. A designer. I thought of Joseph and his amazing technicolour dreamcoat. I think even Tommy was lost for words. There is a lingering image in my mind – not of this fashion designer lady but rather of last week with Peter McVerry. Peter is our designer. He is (as Tommy said) one of the most trusted people in Ireland. He adorns our public stage. We as Church people pick up some of goodwill that emanates from his work. However, on the Show, I was taken back by two questions asked of Peter. On Friends and on Love. I felt sad at his apparent aloneness. A dog hardly does it. Or homeless people cannot be the answer to a question on love.

Notre Dame:

Notre Dame is in the news again. Work is progressing. The scaffolding is a sight in itself. The message coming out from France is that this isn’t only a Church but a statement of aspiration and inspiration for Paris and France itself. I think it is also a metaphor for ourselves as Church. Covid 19 has brought us to our senses. Maybe. The Church as we know it, is gone, or it feels that way. However, Notre Dame is also a challenge. It is not a rebuild but rather a further statement that God continues; that life may look the same but is different; that we have to reconstruct with a Grand Design. We learn from the past. We retain what is worthwhile but we dump the accretions of history.


It was a week without funerals in our churches. However, there were Funerals. The Duke of Edinburgh took over the news. He was a man who didn’t want fuss and so his funeral was simple! During his funeral, I took off to Kilmoganny for Margo’s funeral (online). Margo had pancreatic cancer. She was my godmother Biddy’s daughter. She was a gem. A lady. The funeral was quiet and very gentle as she was. Her dignity in living, was evidenced in her dying and in her funeral. Many of us recalled the murder of her daughter Mairead in Kilkenny almost seven years ago. Her magnanimity at the time and afterwards was extraordinary. And then there was a local funeral of young Romo here in Finglas. He was 19. He came off his motorbike. The funeral went to Canice’s in the Village. And then a different Ritual occurred. A silver hearse. 7 limos. 20 sulkies. A garden of flowers. I think his own little family was almost left on the outside. They didn’t put on that show. I fear the glamour in tragedy. It can almost create an ambition. I feel it is dangerous.

Indi is busy:

She is minding the old folk. She hasn’t time to talk. She is now looking for a Carer’s Allowance.


Seamus Ahearne osa


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