For some time now, the past years have merged into each other. Often, I would be pressed to recall when an event happened. Some may say that this is a factor of advancing age. I prefer to consider it a symptom of memory overload.
It wasn’t always so. During my school years, I would link an event to the F.A. Cup winner that year which then became an aide to recalling the date of the event. My recollection of dates of certain events in the seventies is much better than events in this millennium – thanks to the cup winners.
1985 is a post-school year. I needed the internet to tell me that Manchester United beat Everton 1 – 0 in the F.A. Cup final. But some items from then are locked in the memory.
It may be as a consequence of my college year or the then girlfriend but these items are not just recorded in the memory but they have the date attached. These include seeing the Bradford Stadium Fire on TV in a bar in Clogherhead when we should have been studying; watching Barry McGuigan win the World Title; and, the moving statue in Ballinspittle.
Feast Day of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
I will not be attending the rosary.
Since stooping that evening, I have listened to the RTE documentaries on the Ballinspittle Moving Statue. It brought back the huge numbers at the grotto – a bit different from my recent visit when I was the only one there.
This Lourdes Grotto of Our Lady and St. Bernadette was erected by the people of Ballinspittle and blessed on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th, 1954. That year had been declared by Pope Pius XII a Marian Year, as it was the centenary of the Declaration of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady as an article of the Catholic Faith by Pope Pius IX in 1854. Four years later, in February 11th 1858, the first apparition took place at Lourdes and on March 25th that year Our Lady identified herself to Bernadette with the words: “I am the Immaculate Conception”.
The statue here of reinforced concrete is 1.75 metres in height and weighs about 300 kilograms. The rosary is hanging freely from the hands. The statue was maliciously damaged on the evening of October 31st 1985, but was restored and replaced in the Grotto on November 9th. Down the years the Grotto and its surroundings have been lovingly cared for by the people of Ballinspittle, some indeed devoting a lot of time and energy to its upkeep and adornment. Those who erected this Grotto did so, and those who today lovingly take care of it do so, to promote devotion to Our Lady among all who live around here and among those who may be only mere passers by.