Columbans Ireland

Oct 18th
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Boyne Field Club at Dalgan

Ger Clarke welcomed the Boyne Valley Natural History Field Club to Dalgan last week.
Ger and others recently set up the club and they were delighted to come to Dalgan  to explore the  woodland and hedgerows and the water life of the Skane and Boyne River.
Ger led the nature walk  through the Dalgan Woodlands while Dr Declan Murray (retired Senior Lecturer, UCD) had particpants taking samples from the rivers . 

Afterwards there were refreshments in the Columban Education Resource Room and an opportunity to view some of the collected specimens with microscopes in a mini-lab setting.

The really good news we found out later was that 27 species of Chironomidae  were recorded  - that's non-biting midges to the rest of us!
The exciting news is that seven of these species are first records for the Boyne Catchment (and also County Meath) but  the really exciting news is that one of these seven is a new species record for Ireland. 

Further sampling will be done , for a species that has existed in these rivers for over 5000 years.

Christmas Carol Service – Dalgan

The Christmas Carol Service in Dalgan has become a regular feature over the past number of years. On Friday 12th December in front of a full congregation St. Mary’s Parish Choir, Navan led us in music and song. The Choir was directed by Gabrielle Harte. David Burke was the organist and Francis Duffy trumpeter gave a beautiful rendition of Jerusalem. Also participating were two young Harpists. Susan Fitzimons gave a very fine rendition of O Holy Night.

The theme of the Advent/Christmas Carol Service was Glory to God and Peace on Earth was carefully selected. Because of so many divisions and conflicts in our world today, some might ask: what is there to give Glory to God when there is very little peace? During the Advent/Christmas Carol Service, we were invited to hear these words – Glory to God in a new and deeper way.

St Columban's Day Homily Dalgan Park

From Carlow to Cleenish, Cleenish to Bangor and from Bangor crossing through Britain and on through modern-day France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy; 1,400 plus years ago a truly remarkable journey by a remarkable man, Columbanus, and his companions.
Over recent decades, many experts in different fields have helped us gain a greater understanding of the man. The historian, Damian Bracken proclaims Columban to be ‘a man of firsts in Irish history’ – the first Irish writer to leave a literary corpus, the first Irishman in the surviving literature to describe himself as Irish and to give an account of Irish identity, the first Irishman to be the subject of a biography. Bracken claims that Columbanus’s impact had a long afterlife, and was responsible ultimately for Ireland’s reputation as the land of saints and scholars.

Visit to Dalgan

Dalgan had the pleasure of hosting Archbishop Paul Grawng, Archbishop of Mandalay from 16th-23rd June, 2012.  He arrived in Dublin the day before the concluding ceremony in Croke Park of the Eucharistic Congress.  He is a most unassuming and gentle person whose links with the Columbans go back a long time.  He was ordained priest and bishop by the late Bishop John Howe, whom he succeeded as bishop of Myithina.  Even though he missed all of the Congress at the RDS he was very pleased to have been present for the Final Liturgy.  One of the highlights of the Croke Park closing ceremony was visiting the home of Claire Carey, Mission Outreach Coordinator, who had freshly baked scones and coffee before we headed to Croke Park.

Surprise Visit

As part of his work with local primary schools Ger Clarke collaborated  with teacher Bernie Connolly and the pupils of St Paul's to put together an exhibition featuring stamps from countries in which Columbans work.

The exhibition was shown for some days in Dalgan Park, and it was a deligthful coincidence that on the day that the pupils who had done all the work came to see the exhibition that Archbishop Salvador Pińeiro García-Calderón, from Ayacucho in Peru, had taken time off from the Eucharistic Congress to visit some of his Columban friends in the college.

Cemetary Sunday Homily

Welcome to all who have come here this afternoon. Memory has to be a dominant theme of such a gathering as you call to mind those who journeying with you in missionary work and those from your families who are buried here in St. Columban's.  We also remember in prayer those from the Society who are buried in other lands, especially in the East, those who lie in unmarked graves, especially those martyred in the Philipinnes during the 2nd world war. We also include in our prayers Roberto & Kris Mina whose infant child lies buried in this cemetery.

Courses for Teachers

Courses for Teachers

Every year the Mission Education department hosts a primary school teachers' in-service course. The course, which is called New Eyes to See, aims to help teachers to get their students to engage with the natural environment around them.

The course is run by Ger Clarke, with some inputs from guest speakers such as Sean McDonagh (pictured left ) .

It is very much a hands-on type of course, with a lot of time spent outdoors, as well as work with microscopes on samples collected from the woods and the river.


Moth Attack

Walking in the woodlands in Dalgan you may come across a sight which it seems is becoming increasingly common in Ireland.

At first sight it looks as if a tree has been invaded by a spiders. Hundreds of webs spun into tent like structures that seem to envelopoe the plant. On closer inspection in the centre of each web lies a tightly coiled nest of caterpillars, who as time moves on make their way out the web and start to strip the plant of its leaves.

The larvae or caterpillars are those of the ermine moth which normally spin a small web around some leaves of its food-plant  - the spindle tree (Euonymus europaeus).




Seeds and Sowing

Mention Spring and we think of seed and sowing. We prepare the fields to receive the seed and we prepare the gardens, be they for flowers or for vegetables.

This Spring, here in Dalgan, we prepared three raised beds for sowing vegetables - potatoes onions, shallots, leeks, lettuce, beetroot and many more. As well as that there are three wigwam structures made from bamboo for growing peas an beans. We wanted to experience the taste of food that comes fresh from the soil, ( in Welsh there is a term for this - “ blas a priddo” , meaning taste of the earth).

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