|Saint Mary's Church, Clogheen*|
This was John Tuohy’s church and his passion; he had already told me much about it and his diocese. It was built in 1864, nearly a hundred years following Father Sheehy’s execution, but the martyred priest’s church no longer exists.
|Monument dedicated to|
Father Nicholas Sheehy
Inside, the sanctuary was larger and more ornate than I expected. It held a medieval beauty with its very high ceiling and statues atop each pillar. John Tuohy showed me images of Saint Patrick, of course, and Saint Cataldo, a monk native to the area who became shipwrecked in southern Italy following a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He settled there and became as beloved, they say, as Saint Patrick is to the Irish.
|The view of the church from |
the choir loft*
Of course, I would. He unlocked the door with an old skeleton key and up we climbed the narrow staircase to the balcony. This was an unexpected treat. The view of the church from there was gorgeous.
He brushed some papers from a stool beside the organ and invited me to sit. It was then I learned that my tour guide was none other than the church’s organist. He offered to play for me.
Fr. Sheehy saying mass
3rd from bottom
Life takes wonderfully unpredictable turns.
John Tuohy reminded me of one of my favorite people, my grandfather, Luke Pryor. Both seemed to live rich, full lives in very small towns. Each were somewhat absent-minded, funny, and brimming over with fascinating stories. Without a doubt, during my fantastic two-week stay in Ireland, my day with John Tuohy was my hands-down favorite.
*Photos with asterisks are from the parish website at http://www.bcparish.com/?page_id=14&album=3