|Horse racing - the sport of kings
|Map of Dublin and Phoenix Park
During our stay Pat and I visited Phoenix Park, Dublin, which is the largest urban enclosed park in Europe and is a couple of miles west of the city center. This had been the scene of great events some seven or eight months earlier, when Pope John Paul II had made the first ever visit of a pope to Ireland. We stood exactly where he had stood when celebrating an open air Mass before a congregation of over a million people. Incidentally, this was easily the largest gathering of Irish people in history. We gazed across the park, now green and empty, and tried to visualize how the scene must have appeared to the Pontiff.
|Pope John Paul II
What a pioneer Pope John Paul II turned out to be! He was the first Pope to leave Italy since 1809 and he was the first to travel by air. During his papacy, he undertook more overseas travel than all his predecessors combined during nearly 2000 years. Of course, we did not know then what would befall him only twelve months later in St. Peters Square in the Vatican. In May 1981, a trained sniper from Turkey attempted to assassinate the Pope, who was struck by four bullets. He lost three quarters of his blood and his survival was surely a miracle. He was over 60 years of age at the time. How strange that this should have occurred in the supposed safety of the Vatican, rather than on a risky overseas trip.
|Postcard of Dublin and River Liffey
|St. James Gate at the Guinness Brewery
|Guinness For Strength Poster
This piece, written by Bob, was originally posted on our website on March 15, 2011.