Christmas Cribs in Cork

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.


Anonymous said…
I just loved this post and the pictures are wonderful. Thank you for sharing and Have a Happy New Years.

Lovely pics of the various cribs around cork! You missed out on St.Augustines!They have a great one with moving figures or nodding ones anyway! complete with waterfall and all its lovely!They usually leave it up long after Christmas. I agree with you about those lights you press for a candle i much prefer the real mccoy!
Our priest here in frankfield replaced those when he came here during the year with a real nightlight one much better!
Ann said…
Lovely post Peggy, hope the tradition is allowed to stay, we are losing so many of them here. Our new vicar doesn't seem to like Christmas very much and made the nativity and the carol service very depressing occasions so I don't go anymore.
Absolutely LOVED this post! Great tradition and great pictures too. Love the crib on the Lough, and the live crib (what a pity it is no more)... loved all of them actually! How wonderful that every church has a crib, and that it is a tradition that includes the whole community, as well as having a charitable aspect. This is my understanding of what christmas is about, sadly largely unseen here in London where it's all about spending money and consumerism (which gets on my nerves!). Your christmas is lovely!

The cribs CANNOT be allowed to disappear. We live in a multicultural world in which we all want to be happy, so instead of banning traditions for fear of upset in these over-nannying times, surely we'd all be happier if we simply embrace everyone's traditions, including our own (!!)

Have a great new year Peggy, and I look forward reading more in 2010.
All the very best.
Peggy said…
Willow; Thank you and many Happy returns for 2010
Talesfromagarden: St Augustines would have been quite near too!
Ann: I am sorry to hear your new Vicar does not seem to realise the importance of Christmas in uplifting us both spiritually physically. We LIKE the old traditions leave them alone!
Scarlett; Your idea could be quite revolutionary!Embrace everyones traditions, including our own.
Thank you all for reading and taking the time to comment and Happy New year to everyone.
The Tile Lady said…
Oh, your plethora of nativity scenes are just wonderful, Peggy! Wherever there is a church, there is a reminder of why we celebrate Christmas! I hope and pray that no "PC busybodies" EVER vote these down, because they are such beautiful reminders of the season. And they are such works of art! So lovely, each and every one! I would love to be able to tour the city and see so many here, but alas, there may be a wreath on the door, or a garland, but very few churches have these wonderful creches. You see some in yards, too, but none of the quality of those you have shown us here. I wish we were more like you! And how precious the children fast to earn money for the homeless and infirm during the season at the main nativity scene. That is what Christmas is all about! It touched my heart. God bless you and yours! Maybe when I get a house again I can put up a really beautiful one in my yard, and I promise I will post it! I've always wanted to do that, and hang a HUGE lighted star above it!
Have a very blessed New Year and all of 2010, dear Peggy!
Ann said…
Happy New Year, Peggy, from me and Graham xx
Denis said…
Thank you so much for posting the photo of the crib in St Francis,i have such happy and wonderful memories of this crib as a child, and you are right at that time it was set up in an alcove in st anthony's side shrine just inside main door.i was upset a few days ago to find the beautyfull original dressed figures gone and replaced by modern run of the mill ones. so your photo is maybe the only record of the origional.and a now vanished peice of past cork christmas,thanks again it really ment so much to me. Denis

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