I have not blogged for a few days not because I was busy gardening, quite the opposite in fact!We have had frozen roads, frost and ice and some areas have had quite heavy snowfalls.Getting out after dark is a bit of a problem,it may be OK going out but by the time you are coming home the temperatures have dropped to freezing and the roads are skating rinks.When my older children were very young (about 35-40 years ago)a tradition on St Stephen's Day (Boxing Day in England) was to visit the churches in the city and have a look at the different cribs.That of course was in the days when shops opening on that day was unheard of.Shops closed from Christmas Eve often for 3 to 4 days.Garages also closed so one of the tasks on Christmas Eve was to fill the car up with petrol.We managed fine and Christmas was a family holiday not just one day of eating and drinking and out to the sales the next day.So I will take you on a short tour of some of our cribs in Cork
The above nativity (crib) is in one of the oldest churches in the city St Peter & Pauls which is celebrating 150 years this coming year.The backdrop appears open showing a landscape of sunshine and greenery and somehow very Italian looking!Notice the candles in the foreground, it is also one of the few remaining churches which allows you to light an actual candle rather than pressing a button for an electric light!
This one is set into the centre brush of The Lough. This is a very large fresh water lake just to the edge of the city and is a very popular walk for city dwellers and visitors alike. The pathway round the Lough measures 1 mile so joggers and walkers are often seen pounding the path.Swans and ducks are numerous here as it is a bird sanctuary.A few years ago the City Council decided to put the nativity scene into the trees in the centre and it has grown very popular over the years. It is lit up at night and Christmas tunes are played over a loudspeaker (not TOO loud)
This one is in the Church of the Sacred Heart which was nearly under water a few weeks ago at the height of the floods but it is built to withstand them as the Church is accessed by going up some steps.It is a very well built nativity and not just tucked into one corner of the Church but takes up quite a bit of space.
Another view of the same one showing the care and attention to detail to make it look like an authentic stable!
This one is also in the city centre in the Church of St Francis. It was always a favourite and known as the 'real' crib because the figures were dressed in costume. I remember the crib being inside the door and somehow the figures seemed larger but the passing of years may have a lot to do with that!The figures are still dressed in costume carrying on the tradition.
I went looking for the 'Live Crib' but alas it is no more.A young priest on the Northern side of the city began a live crib some years ago in the garage attached to his house. The animals were all real and changed from year to year depending on what was available, they were all well looked after also. This young priest has now been moved and is a school chaplain so his crib has not been continued by either the new priest or the parish.
Just some of the cribs in and around Cork City this year.Each church has a crib, some larger then others there are some indoors and some out doors.Each year for about 30 years I think, secondary school students gather around 'The Share Crib' (one I did not think to take a photo of)which is in the centre of town.They do a 24 hour Fast to collect money. All of this money has gone to providing sheltered housing for the elderly poor, providing accommodation, care givers, medical help and providing the basics like laundry facilities etc.The students from the various schools take it in turn to collect and are on the street around the Crib day and night for a couple of weeks before Christmas.
With the influx of other nationalities and religions into Ireland in the last few years, there have been rumblings every year that the cribs will not be put up in hospitals or public buildings etc.I don't think the actual immigrants are complaining but rather the very PC busybodies who like to remain anonymous.I for one feel these 'cribs'are part of my heritage and I am entitled to keep that heritage intact for my children and grand children.