On Friday June 30th., a wonderful event took
place in Donadea Forest, but it did not start there - no, the preparations for it began
much earlier. The people of Kilcock and Newtown Parish, were busy sifting through a pile
of ideas for a Liturgy for the event. With cooperation from the Church of Ireland
community in Donadea, and from members of Staplestown - Cooleragh Parish the broad outline
of the event was planned.
Donadea Forest Park was booked for the occasion, - and thanks to Mr.
George Hipwell (Manager Coillte, Donadea) all the facilities of the Park were made
available to us.
The Pilgrimage started from four ancient Christian Places of worship
and burial. Clonshambo and Hortland in Kilcock Parish, Staplestown Church and St.
Peters Well in Cooleragh Parish.
Those of us who started from Hortland arrived at the Cemetery at 6 p.m.
Great credit is due to the Cemetery Committee, as they had it beautifully prepared.
Beatrice Mallon and Marie Houlihan welcomed us all, and after a short
Prayer our journey began across to Hortland Bridge. Tommy Simms and Josh Rose agreed that
we should avoid the "Street of Hortland" as we might get caught up in the
evening rush hour traffic! Instead we headed slightly east of it through lovely fields of
moor meadows. Now it began to rain, but luckily it soon cleared off. We stopped at various
points for Prayers and to check our bearings for Derryvarogue. Eventually we recognised
familiar houses, and we crossed the Derry Road at Des OLearys house, and next
to Derrycrib, first a pleasant forest scene, and then a beautiful scene of white bog
cotton and wild orchids.
We arrived at St. Peters Well at 7.30 p.m. (we were walking for
over an hour now).
The Staplestown Group was at the Well to greet us. James Reid led us in
Prayer at the Well, and after a drink from it, we proceeded to Greenhills Cemetery, where
a group of people read Prayers for our Dead, our Sick, and our Troubled. We left the
Cemetery in silent Reflection until we reached the "Range" Houses.
We now entered Donadea Forest. When we arrived at the Castle, we were
already too late for The Welcoming Prayers, so we hurried up to St. Peters Church,
which was beautifully prepared, with lots of lit candles, and Phyllis Reid playing the
James Reid welcomed us, and Rt. Rev. Roy Warke led us in Prayer, and
read the Scripture relating to The Good Samaritan. After a short homily on
neighbourliness, he called on Fr. P. J. Byrne to lead us in Prayer and to say a few words.
The entire congregation joined in the two moving Hymns, and the feeling of Christian
Fellowship was very evident.
We next adjourned to the castle, where Noleen Walsh read the history of
it. The group of over 100 people by now, walked to and around the lake to light their
lanterns and candles after a short Prayer and Reflection. Fr. P. J. was next to say a
Prayer to symbolise the crossing of bridges in our lives, at the wooden bridge near the
lake. Darkness was now descending on us, as the light of our candles and lanterns grew
stronger. Eilish O Brien, Kilcock, read a beautiful and very apt poem (by Timmy Conway,
Naas) which reflected on nature and our environment.
The final Station of the Pilgrimage had the theme of celebration, and
after some Prayers and Reflections, the Newton Childrens Choir sang a Hymn, followed
by a beautiful solo piece by Eileen Nolan.
Sean Flannery read a prayer before our meal, and then we opened our
picnic baskets, and shared their contents with each other. With the flickering light of
the burning torches and the mounted lanterns, we all eat and drank and talked and laughed,
and sang and drank...and drank!!...Whew what an event!!...It was Midnight by the time that
the last of us left Donadea Forest Park, full of The Holy Spirit, and some full of other
good spirit as well !!.
Thank you to all who organised The Jubilee 2000 Pilgrimage to Donadea
Forest Park on the 30th June 2000. Good Friends, good Neighbours, all united as a
Christian Family, just as it began 2000 years ago.
PILGRIMAGE TO ST. PETERS WELL
On Wednesday 28th June, the eve of the Feast of SS. Peter
and Paul, a small group of people met at St. Peters Well, Greenhills, Donadea. Amid
bird song Rev. David Frazer read the Gospel and reflections. Well known local historian
Seamus Cullen gave a brief talk on the history of the Well and on the immediate locality.
Seamus assured us that there is documented evidence to support the fact
that St. Patrick visited this Well,
and that it is likely the visit was on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul,
hence the name St Peters.
Councilor Michael Fitzpatrick said he enjoyed the peace and tranquility
of this special place and would like to be involved with the restoration of the Well.
Liam Holton, Chairman, Tir Na Mona, who organised the event thanked all
for attending, especially Rev David, Councilor Michael and Seamus. Liam hoped that the
well would be restored in a sensitive way and that it would be fully accessible to all.
As we left this sacred place with the faint tinkling of running water,
the air perfumed by the many wild herbs, flowers and grasses, we were at one with nature
and pondered on all who would have visited this site in times gone by.
(We are unable to bring you Seamus Cullens article on St.
Peters Well this month due to lack of space but we hope to include it next month.,