August 2019 Young Adults' Weekend Outing
Youth Outing to Tralee
This outing took place in a scenic part of the country, with our accommodation situated next to the sand dunes on Banna Strand, Tralee. Only a handful of the faithful arrived at the designated time of 5 p.m. on Friday 23rd of August – our punctuality was rewarded with a stroll along the strand where we got to take in the magnificent views across the Dingle peninsula and gaze out at one of the Blasket Islands, the ‘Sleeping Giant’, reposing in the sea. Fortunately we had Catherine McKeown on hand to take approximately 200 photographs, capturing us from every angle possible. After our stroll we headed for Mass in St. Brendan’s, Ardfert, a beautiful Gothic Revival church which still has its high altar intact.
On the second day our numbers were doubled by the arrival of latecomers who came just in time for morning Mass, after which we were given a talk on the 1916 Rising by the seminarian Mr. O’Hart, whose air of authority and gravitas was such that Scholastique was convinced that he was in fact the new prior at St. John's, Fr. Abbet. She thought that his Northern Irish accent was slightly odd for a Swiss national, but was impressed that he would take the trouble of traveling all the way to Kerry to give a conference to our humble youth group. She was eventually dispelled of her mistaken belief by our resident funny men (of which we have no shortage).
After the conference we took off for the Dingle Way – the weather was not as bad as forecast, and we duly profited from the beautiful scenery and camaraderie on the 4-hour hike. Although many of us slid and slipped on the muddy trail, no one injured themselves. There was even more beautiful scenery for us to behold on the way back from our hike as we took a detour through the Kerry mountains.
Back at our cabins we were given an insightful talk by Fr. Ockerse on ‘An Introduction to the Devout Life’, the book that is to be the subject of our weekly study sessions. We then tucked into our BBQ which proved very tasty in spite of a momentary panic that undercooked pork chops would result in food poisoning. We finished the night with a game of the Village led by Fr. Ockerse which produced much fun and banter.
On the Sunday morning we cleaned up our cabins under the watchful eyes of the McKeowns who ensured that we left the place spick and span so that the youth group’s good name would be preserved and Bernadette would get a positive review on Airbnb. We then motored as far as Cork for Mass, after which there was an ‘engagement’ ceremony for those within the group willing to commit to a regime of prayer and study in order to deepen their spiritual life. When it had been announced the previous day that ‘engagements’ were to take place, Sean Hogan assumed this meant that certain members of the group were to become engaged to each other, much to the hilarity of our resident funny men.
After Mass we went for lunch in Cobh, a beautiful spot which was resplendent in the sunshine. Eoin presented a hot topic, drawing on the work of Rodney Stark to show how the Spanish Inquisition has been misrepresented as one of the bloodiest and most merciless regimes in history. We subsequently treated ourselves to some ice cream and thus concluded another thoroughly enjoyable and action-packed youth outing which left us spiritually refreshed.
Written by Eoin Cronin.