the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other Dorset writers

Dublin and the Mercy Institute

on July 5, 2018

I’m just back from a few days in Dublin. My Australian friend arranged for us to stay at Mercy International. This is a house on the corner of Baggott Street not far from St Stephen’s Green. The accommodation is generous and comfortable and the history of the house fascinating. The founder of the Sisters of Mercy, Catherine McAuley, committed to support the poor when she inherited the estate of a distant relative. She bought the land and built a house in a prominent position in Dublin so that the wealthy were able to see the plight of orphans and the destitute women with whom she worked. While her intention was to operate as Catholic social workers, pressure to become a religious community saw McAuley and two other women formally prepare for life as women religious taking vows one year later. As a result, the Sisters of Mercy was founded on 12 December 1831 and formally confirmed by Pope Gregory XVI on 6 June 1841.

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We enjoyed bed and breakfast accommodation at Mercy International and joined a tour of the house one morning. This included visiting the room where up to two hundred children were taught and the bedroom where Catherine McAuley died. The determination of the Sisters of Mercy to work for the benefit of the poor and to promote the education of girls and women is quite remarkable. Many of the schools established  continue to promote the values of Catherine McAuley.

Other pleasures of Dublin included seeing a raucous production of Ulysses one evening and then another watching Roddy Doyles’ The Snapper. We made a visit to the Dublin Writers’ Centre and went to the beach where there was a sliver of sea at Sandymount. Walks beside the Liffey were very pleasurable where the breezes cooled off the summer heat.

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And the good weather continues now I’m back in Dorset. What a summer!

 

 


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