By msunada on Sep 26, 2009 in Uncategorized
(In Irish, there is no specific word for “hello.” Instead, one greets another person by saying “Dia duit” or “God be with you.” The second person responds by saying “Dia is Muire duit” or “God and Mary be with you.”)
While walking through the city of Cork, I noticed this statue of the Virgin Mary behind a small church in one of the narrow, residential side streets. Catholic churches and cathedrals in Ireland are often located in nondescript, out-of-the way buildings, mainly due to legal restrictions that forced Catholics to worship in secret until the early twentieth century. To be Irish, we were told, was to be Celtic and Catholic — and, of course, to be oppressed by the English for that very reason. Though Catholicism is no longer practiced as fervently as it used to be, it’s still an important part of Irish life. Although many other areas of the city were covered in graffiti, the Virgin’s garden has been lovingly cared for, unblemished by vandalism and adorned with fresh-cut flowers. It’s a quiet reminder of the peace and freedom that has finally replaced centuries of hardship and oppression in Ireland.