Back to Basque

Well, it seems that the world and his mother has been to San Sebastian. Since I wrote about my encounter with the fur clad inhabitants of this fair town, many of my blog followers have contacted me to tell me of their visit to this most beautiful of ancient towns.

I think that many people seem to have combined a trip here with a visit to Lourdes. This  would account for many people with a Listowel connection being familiar with this part of Pays Basque.

I heard a story of a nun and her sister who were propositioned on the beach by two lovely Spanish heart throbs. Explanations in poor French and even poorer Spanish were met with the equivalent of “All the Irish girls pretend they are nuns.”

Cathy Dunne set me straight about the housing situation in the region. Apparently, young Spanish people are no longer happy to live in high rise apartments and there is much new building of houses. These houses are very expensive.

The best story of all comes from Kay Caball (Moloney, when she visited San Sebastian).

“It was the first foreign holiday I was ever on – when I was 21 and Anne Crowley came with me.  We were the two biggest country eejits you ever came across.  

We took the plane to Lourdes as there were no package or other hols then.  I suppose Michael Kennelly must have arranged the flight.  We never went next or near the Grotto!  We just stayed the night and took off on a rattly train to San Sebastian.   

We had ‘full board’ in the hotel and after our evening dinner we were served with a plate of cherries and a bowl of water.  We hadn’t a clue what the bowl of water was for but after some discussion we decided it was for spitting the cherry stones into.   So in the most ladylike fashion that we could muster, we took to aiming our cherries from our mouths to the bowl.  There would be a big splash.  The funny thing was that each night more and more waiters seemed to be forming up at the service door to watch the performance.  

I think we must have been back home when we copped on that it was a finger bowl.”


Lunchtime in San Sebastian

It was January 25th 2015 when I visited and the weather was what the weather folk call “bracing” but everyone was eating and drinking outdoors.  We patronized the Irish bar. The only thing Irish about it was the name and the fact that they served Guinness and Murphy. Our waiter had never been to Ireland and the owner wasn’t Irish either. The prices were a bit Irish though. We had to pay extra to drink outdoors!

When we went into the old town for our grub I was shocked at the sight of so many people happily eating tapas standing at outdoor tables. These really are hardy people. I can understand the need for fur coats.

Because they had an ancient with them, my family sought out an indoor restaurant, (pictured below). Those things hanging from the ceiling are hams. (Does anyone remember yella bacon?)

It was a lovely restaurant with the owners’  three generations of one family conversing with their customers in French, Spanish, Basque and English.


Le chapeau Basque

Most men, especially older men in this region wear a form of beret called le chapeau Basque. They usually wear black for everyday wear and red for festivals.

Basque music involves much drumming and their flute is always played with one hand.


Warehouse to Risin Sun


Snow in town in 2010

Snow in 2010

Sisters at the unveiling of the statue in 2010


Fr. Pat Moore

Fr Pat Moore and Mary Fagan of Horizons.

The whole diocese of Kerry but particularly the parish of Duagh is in shock following the news that their popular parish priest is suffering from a serious illness. Below is a post from Maine Valley blog

Masses will be
offered at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Lyreacrompane and at St. Brigid’s
Parish Church in Duagh this Tuesday evening, February 24 at 7-30pm for the
return to full health of the hugely popular PP Fr. Pat Moore.

Fr. Jack O’Donnell will
be the celebrant in Lyre and Fr. Tom McMahon and Fr. Paul Dillon will be the
concelebrants in Duagh. The masses are expected to attract huge crowds
from all corners of the joint parishes of Duagh and Lyre and well beyond.

The announcement of Fr.
Moore’s recent illness has shocked his parishioners and messages of support
have been pouring in from all directions for the Asdee native.

In a blog on the site, Fr. Moore wrote the following on Saturday.

“Today I got word of my
PET scan appointment in Cork University Hospital next week. I am very
aware and held by the Great Wall of support, prayer, good wishes and practical
help around me that leaves me wanting for nothing.

The shock of getting
the news on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes isn’t stuck into me, thankfully.
The place I need to move to is Trust – trust in doctors and their care, and
trust in he God who is making his presence felt in a very real way around me.

Aine Ford prayed with
me that I may experience Christ’s compassionate gaze in an even more
intimate way during these days of uncertainty.”

A small sample of the
messages to Fr. Moore from friends and parishioners: 

“Fr. Pat, as we both travel on a
journey, a journey full of love compassion and caring, the people we meet on
our journey they are angels without wings. They are all interested in us as
individuals not as a patient, but the greatest challenge in front of us as our
journey moves along is to trust in our Lord. For us to realise that this
journey has been planed by him and he alone knows the destination, let our
faith in him be our companion on our journey, we need no more,”
– Bernard Collins.

“Father Moore to let
you know your in our thoughts and prayers. Wishing you all the best and hoping
you’ll be back soon. The parish isn’t the same without you.”

“We are in a daze since we learned
the news. This has put everything into perspective for us. Please God with all
our prayers you will be back to full health in a short time. miss the fun, the
jokes, the support and the company, so don’t stay away too long. Thinking of
you and talk to you soon please God.”