On a beautiful sunny Sunday morning last September, Cáirde Bhríde members travelled by bus from Solas Bhríde, Kildare to Cabragh Wetlands, near Holy Cross, Co. Tipperary.
It was exciting especially since it was our first outing since before COVID.
After a pleasant journey we arrived and were greeted by Fr. Michael Long and volunteer Anne and treated to a welcome cup of tea and cake.
“Story of the Universe”
Fr. Michael talked to us about the Cabragh Wetlands Trust and how it developed. It was set up in the early 90’s to promote awareness of and value for a fenland that was in danger, in danger from drainage and even landfill dumping !!!! The land originally belonged to the Thurles Sugar Factory.
The off-flow from this factory contributed greatly to the existence of the wetlands, where there are no less than 15 habitats, including ponds, reed swamps, hedgerows, streams and wild flower meadows, teeming today with insects, bumble bees, birds, grasses, frogs etc.
The wetlands are an environmental treasure, free from interference by mankind and instead remaining supervised solely by Mother Nature.
Fr. Michael also guided us on the “Cosmic Walk”, the “Story of the Universe”, our “ Creation Story” , depicted beautifully by sculptures in stone and wood., starting 13.8 Billion years ago with “The Great Flaring Forth” up to the present day.
Our journey is an extraordinary journey and understanding our story will help us understand our
place in the web of life., the interconnectedness of everything , of all life. Some lovely quotations
on the stones were:
“Life on Earth works, as it all works together “
“ My concern is for the children, the children of all species”.a Thomas Berry
“ The Earth was once molten rock, but now it sings operas.” Brian Swimme
Knowing our Story awakens in us a sense of beauty and mystery of what we are part of….evoking a sense of awe ,wonder, gratitude and compassion. It enables us to make sense of our own lives and our place in the planet.
Reluctantly leaving Cabragh Wetlands ( but with a vow to return) we proceeded to Holy Cross Abbey.
This magnificent restored Cistercian Monastery takes its name from a relic of the true across brought to Ireland by Queen Isabella of Angouleme around 1233. Legend tells us that Red Hugh O’ Donnell visited there to venerate the relic on his way to battle in Kinsale in 1601.
With its white walls and dark seating it was very tranquil and peaceful.
Outside we walked the Stations of the Cross, the work of Enrico Manfrini, a replica of the Stations in Castel Gandolfo, Summer residence of the Pope.
As early evening was approaching we were grateful for a lovely meal in Wytchway Inn Holycross.
It was a lovely day out and we were so grateful for the sun and all those lovely people we met who gave us time and lots to think about.