Galway priest gives Easter blessing on 75km trip; Galway city raises flags in international solidarity

Equipped with holy water pot and sprinkler, Fr Barry Horan was driven by a Mercedes van on a 75km journey to bless parishioners and townlands in and around Clarinbridge and Kilcolgan.
Galway priest gives Easter blessing on 75km trip; Galway city raises flags in international solidarity
European flags fly on the Salthill Promenade in Galway. Picture: Lorna Siggins.

A south Galway priest secured the support of the GAA and the blessing of the local Gardaí for a circumnavigation of his parish over Easter weekend.

Equipped with holy water pot and sprinkler, Fr Barry Horan was driven by a Mercedes van on a 75 km journey to bless parishioners and townlands in and around Clarinbridge and Kilcolgan.

“We started it off as an initiative for elderly parishioners who were missing Mass, but then everyone wanted to get involved and we also brought Easter eggs for the young kids,” Clarinbridge GAA chairman Bernie Conlon explained.

“Fr Barry blessed homes, land and people,” Mr Conlon said. "He didn't leave the van at any stage."

“It was a great success, with everyone observing the two-kilometre restrictions on movement and social distancing by standing at their doorways or the end of their access roads," he said.

Clarinbridge GAA had come up with the idea after a similar initiative in a north Galway parish. Also, a parish priest in Co Louth took to the “Popemobile” on the Cooley peninsula last Thursday.

Fr Malachy Conlon, a parish priest at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Boher, Cooley, Co Louth, was transported in the vehicle actually used by Pope John Paul II on visits to Britain and to the African continent in the early 1980s.

It had been bought by a vintage vehicle collector from Greenore, Co Louth.

The Clarinbridge route was published on social media, and local businessman Mike Kerrigan served as chauffeur.

“We left cream eggs sponsored by Mike Kerrigan for kids at several agreed pick up points,” Mr Conlon said.

Meanwhile in Galway city, flags of over 20 European countries – including non-EU member Norway and excluding Britain’s Union Jack - have been erected over the weekend on light standards on the Salthill promenade.

Former city mayor and Labour councillor Niall MacNelis welcomed the initiative as a gesture of solidarity to European neighbours who are badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Galway is a multicultural city, and while we have asked people to fly Tricolours as a gesture of support for our healthcare workers we are also aware that there are people of many nationalities living and working here,” he said.

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