I love meeting new people; I think everyone has a story to tell. We should all listen sometimes.

Kim Smith

It’s all of that and so much more. The best coffee morning is back this year after two years of kind of a forced absence. There will be fabulous food in fabulous surroundings in the company of the nicest people you could meet. Old and new friends. Everybody is welcome to join.

Thanks to our good friend Marie and her family, we will get together again this years to enjoy what has always been, for so many years, the most beautiful morning, and all in support of Pádraig. Without this support Pádraig would not have been able to get medical treatment and rehabilitation when he most badly needed it. It is with the support of his friends that he will be able to continue getting this treatment and doing things that allow him to live his life with his injury.

Yesterday was one of these beautiful late summer days that are even better when you can spend some time at the sea front.

So we went for a walk.

And when we were about to pass by the Clontarf Baths, a seawater open air outside swimming pool with a beautiful restaurant and views of the sea, the Liffey and town, we decided to take a break and have a drink.

We spent about an hour there enjoying the early afternoon, watching out to the bay and chatting away. Sometimes, the best moments come when you don’t expect them.

And then I got a phone call from a very good friend who invited me to what turned out to be a visit to another world. Within a couple of hours it felt like as if I had been beamed across the ocean to Nebraska.

I have no idea why, but last evening, the Nebraska Cornhuskers were playing the Northwestern Wild Cats in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. It was out of this world.

It was only my second time to be at an American Football game (the first one had been a small college game in Tennessee), so I decided to look up the basics of the game to be able to follow it at least a bit.

Two teams of 11 players are trying to get the ball across the line of the opposing team. The game is two half of 30 minutes long, or four quarters of 15 minutes – and takes, on average, three hours… which is when I started to get lost.

If didn’t get better during the match. I never managed to even get a feel for what was happening on the pitch. Each of the team must have had 50 players, and although only 11 of them were playing on each side at any one time, they were constantly changing.

When people around us where jumping up for joy I was wondering what on earth just had happened?

The evening was great fun and a great cultural experience in the company of a really good friend.

We had time to chat. And, as happens so often, talking clarified things in my head I know but am not always so aware of. Doing it from a distance, outside of my ‘normal’ life and in a very different environment, also helped to see things in a slightly different light.

This day next week, we will be back in Lourdes for a long weekend with the parish. The usual, much larger Diocesan pilgrimage has not yet resumed after COVID. Pádraig will not be staying in the Accueil, but, instead, the three of us will be staying a few nights together in a hotel. We will experience this very unique place over just a few days instead of the usual week.

We are all looking forward to what will be in so many ways a very special journey.