In the monastery: pilgrimage and misconception

johnpoetflanagan

Knock in County Mayo in the West of Ireland is a place of pilgrimage ever since the Virgin Mary appeared there, or so it’s believed, in 1879.
Each year, Father Celestine – known with affection to the other monks as Kate because of his patent leather Cuban heels, his mincing steps and dramatic gestures – organised a two-day trip to Knock for about 30 boys of the school, the students considered more religiously inclined. Kate booked a bus for the trip and arranged overnight accommodation. The selected students were more than glad to pay all expenses, they escaped the confines of school for two days.
One year, the pilgrimage went badly. A few days after Kate and the boys got back to school, the abbot of the monastery, Dom Bonaventure, received a letter from a stall holder in Knock complaining the boys stole prayer books, scapulars, rosary beads, statuettes of…

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A Croatian Success Story

Croatia, the War, and the Future

Ban J. Jelacic Square, Zagreb’s city centre main square

By Jonathan Bousfield, Timeout

The more popular Zagreb gets as a tourist destination, the more difficult it gets to describe it. Is it really a little Vienna? A cute cousin of Prague? A near-Mediterranean Manchester? Maybe it’s a sign of Zagreb’s ongoing success that labels like these no longer make any sense.

With its mixture of baroque beauty and nineteenth-century grit, Zagreb is, in any case, an unusual and unique hybrid, a northern European city warmed by the climate and the culture of the south. However, it’s not just this idiosyncratic mixture of northern soul and southern sunshine that has made the Croatian capital into such a favourite among visitors. Its tourist fortunes have been transformed by the kind of small-scale innovation and subtle change that has brought new vitality to the streets while leaving the historic fabric largely untouched. Zagreb’s…

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