A Country Churchyard
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile,
The short and simple annals of the poor.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike the inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Thomas Gray: Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
Four times a year, we change the format of our Music Group session and two members take the floor to present a 'concert' programme. Today was our Summer Concert, and it turned out to be a bit of an opera gala. The first half was devoted to excerpts from Handel's Julius Caeser, in a recording from September 1968 chosen as a tribute to the American soprano Beverly Sills, who died a couple of weeks ago. In total contrast, the second half consisted of a complete performance of The Miserly Knight, a little-known one-act opera by Rachmaninov. This was on DVD, a recording of the 2004 production from Glyndebourne, and was absolutely magnificent.
Today's host was Ron, who hails from Germany, has been in Ireland for some fifteen years, and now works in the Hertz European Service Centre in Swords, Co. Dublin, where he lives. We stayed on after the music for a spot of food and drink and chat and a comparison of notes about next year's trip to Zurich. We broke up around 6.30, after which I tried to find a spot close to Swords which I remember from many years ago and thought might provide excellent blipportunities. Things have changed, though. What used be a narrow winding paved fringe alongside an estuary has now turned into a two-lane road further from the water which services a large housing estate. It's funny how often recently I've discovered old familiar haunts to have changed out of all recognition, and generally speaking not for the better, and today's experience brought home once again the inexorable march of 'progress'.
I did manage to park the car and walk down to the water, but it didn't have the same atmosphere as in the old remembered days, even though part of what I remember has been turned into a pleasant enough grassy waterside walk. I blipped a bit, and got a few useable shots. Continuing on along this road brought me to Malahide, where I'd been on Thursday, and a right turn had me on the road home. I would have been content with what was in the camera, but as I was driving along I came on what turned out to be St Doulagh's Anglican church in Balgriffin. I hesitated for a moment but then decided to stop and have a look. There's a sign at the roadside which proclaims that visitors are welcome, but this obviously doesn't apply at 8.00 pm on a Saturday evening, since all gates were secured with padlocks. I did climb over a gate and into a field beside the church and stole a few shots. This was one of them.