More adventures of Padre Pio and the Celtic Sea
We left Ireland's first blind artist laughing and I was convinced that she was really going to try painting again. I tucked the Padre Pio painting into the guide book. It was small about 2 by 3 inches and made a good book mark. It really was well done - I didn't realize how well done until I came arose a likeness of Padre Pio much later. On the road again and headed toward Waterford. I wanted to see the area around Hook Lighthouse. It was an impressive sight with black and white stripes. It was a very solid looking building, one of the Oldest Operational Lighthouses in the World. More recent studies, however, have attributed construction to William Marshal in 1245 as a navigational aid to guide his ships into Waterford Harbor. The existing tower dates from the twelfth century, though tradition states that Dubhan, a missionary to the Wexford area, established some sort of beacon as early as the 5th century. The exact circumstance of the initial construction on the present structure are the subject of some controversy. It had been thought that the tower was constructed in 1172 by Raymond LeGros as part of his conquests in Ireland, both to establish the lighthouse and to serve as a fortress on the approaches to Waterford. In any case, this tower, in its original form, was 18m high and roughly 8.5m in diameter, with an open fire at the top serving as the beacon. In clear weather one can see for miles. It became fully automated in 1996. When the wind rises sea spray often reaches the top of the lighthouse - either way, the sight is breathtaking.
The day we were there the sea was rough. We stayed in the car and looked out across the Celtic Sea. About a half hour of watching the sea gave way to an urgency of finding a place to stay for the evening. We backtracked up the east side of the river and crossed over and headed back down the west side looking for a place to stay. It was nearly 9:00 p.m. when we saw a small sign that said B&B and the porch light was on. It was the last house and we had not seen many. I was contemplating spending the night in the car. I knocked on the door and it opened a crack. I said we were looking for a room for the night. The door had not opened further when for some reason my guide book slipped form my hand and the painting of Padre Pio fell out onto the porch. The lady who answered the door said - "Is that Padre Pio?" and when I said yes the door flew immediately open and the lady said come right in. We spent a half hour or so in the living room chatting with them but we could tell that they were more interested in their TV program so we went out to the pub next door.
The pub turned out to be interesting in its own right. There didn't seem to be anything for miles around but the B&B and the pub. A small man came in and ordered a straight shot and knocked it back in short order then left. There was another man sitting there that was the boyfriend of the girl behind the bar. Her father was in the adjoining kitchen keeping an eye on the two of them or so she said. "Poor Johnny" she said, "he was a champion jockey of all Ireland until he lost the biggest race of his life. The horse went down and had to be put down. He has never regained his confidence. Comes in for a nightly shot and is gone as quick as he comes." I was absorbing this when a young black man came in and says its getting very cold out. He turns to me and asks if I want to play a game of darts.
I say, "No thanks!" I have no knowledge of the game of darts. He asks the boyfriend who also says no. At this point the man leaves and the air coming through the door is indeed cold.
The boyfriend say I made the right choice. He says the man is new to the area and comes in every night looking for a game. Two of the locals who are fair at the game both got cleaned out so no one will play him anymore. No one actually seems to know anything about him and they are hoping he will move on when he discovers there is no one who will play darts with him. I noted his English was very good but I couldn't place the accent. I said it was time for us to move on too but thanks for making our evening Guinness interesting.
We were gone only a short while before we returned and got ready for bed. I remember looking out and seeing the moonlight on the Celtic Sea and thinking how brilliant the seascape appeared. I gazed at the scene for some time before I slipped between the cool sheets. I was tired but it dawned on me that Padre Pio had opened that door for us and for that I said a little prayer thanking him. I still knew almost nothing of him except that he had performed a miracle because that door was about to shut.
A very quick sketch of the Celtic Sea with the morning sun on the beach.
Interestingly enough, when we returned home I was telling this story to a friend who claims to be an atheist but prays quite a bit. Within minutes two books on Padre Pio appeared and now I know much more about him.
|All images contained herein are for viewing only and under the exclusive copyright of the artist. Phil Terry © 1997-2012|