Author: Morgan Sharpe
It was in the year 2014 when I travelled to Annascaul, Co Kerry to attend the “wake” and funeral of my brother in- law. Annascual is a picturesque little village situated between Tralee and Dingle on the Dingle Peninsula itself.
As is usual with these “Housewakes” the neighbours sit around sipping tea or sometimes something stronger if available and talk about the corpse lying in the coffin. As time passes this small talk dries up and a silence descends on the mourners.
This is exactly what happened in my case, so I escaped to the back yard.
Just imagine my surprise at seeing in the corner of this yard two statues, now these were two special ones as far as I was concerned. One was the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and the other was that of St Bernadette. You might wonder why I was so sure that these represented the Lourdes Grotto scene?
Well, the clothes as shown on the Bernadette statue were the ones usually worn by the peasant children of Lourdes in the mid Nineteenth Century.
Our Lady’s statue was easier to identify as her rosary beads had 6 decades on them.
This is a replica of the Crown Virgin which is situated in the centre of the esplanade in Lourdes but this one was without her crown.
Upon investigation I was told that these statues had been removed from the local church on a temporary basis to facilitate renovations. Well, that was over sixty years ago and the Grotto no longer exists.
Obtaining and restoring these statues were foremost on my mind so I obtained permission to take them and this was gladly given.
A van was duly borrowed and these items were transported to Dublin, to the Oblate of Mary Immaculate Order in Inchicore where Fr Vincent Mulligan (past Spiritual Director for the Lourdes Pilgrimage ) took charge of them. They were beautifully restored and are now in the possession of Sister Consilio were she intends erecting a Lourdes grotto at one of her centres.