Knock Knock Who’s There? Cosmo!! by Cosmo (Holiday to Mayo)

We survived our van journey although it was better than normal as we had mum sitting in the back with us & Uncle Jim was driving. WE pulled up at our lovely holiday cottage Lavender Cottage near Knock in county Mayo. On arrival we were greeted by the wonderful cottage owner Linda & her 2 furpals & she surprised us by having a birthday afternoon tea set up for mum. And you’ll never guess what not only did it have cakes & sandwiches & sweeties & a birthday cake but it also had DOG BISCUITS!!!!

We like this cottage already. It was a very cute remote cottage with a garden. Unfortunately we had to be kept on our leads because there had been a bonfire in the garden & we kept going & eating it & coming back with black paws & faces!

The first day Auntie Angela chilled at the cottage with us while mum & Uncle Jim went to check out the big church thing at Knock. Well mum was a bit blown away as it was a huge site with lots of people there. It has five churches including the huge Basilica & the apparition chapel, a museum, cafe & book shop, huge beautiful gardens, a row of holy water fountains & even a hotel. Since the first organised pilgrimage came to Knock in 1880, they have welcomed pilgrims from all over the world to this sacred place. The pilgrimage season takes place from the last Sunday in April until the second Sunday in October each year. Pilgrimage Masses take place at Knock Basilica each weekend throughout the pilgrimage season. Since the Apparition on the 21st of August 1879, pilgrims and visitors have been welcomed to Knock Shrine from all four corners of the world. There are five churches in the Shrine grounds, each with its own unique and exquisite features. From the Parish Church, built in 1828, to the Basilica constructed to give shelter to the millions that visit here each year.

On a wet dark August evening in 1879,  the villagers of this place had spent the day doing the usual work of the harvest time of the year – gathering winter fuel and fodder. As evening approached, the heavy mist that had been persistent throughout the day,  turned to a steady downpour.  The villagers gathered around the turf fires in their homes, taking comfort and shelter on a terrible night. Suddenly word spread throughout the village that something extraordinary was happening at the Church and so they hurried to the windswept gable where they witnessed a heavenly vision surrounded in a brilliant white light. Men, women and children gathered in prayer at the gable wall of  the parish church.

The witnesses clearly saw the Blessed Virgin Mary dressed in white robes, her hands and eyes turned towards heaven in prayer. On her head was a gold crown and where the crown fitted the brow, a single golden rose. On her right, bowed respectfully towards her, was St. Joseph. He appeared older, his beard and hair were grey and, like Our Lady,  he was barefoot. To Our Lady’s left stood John the Evangelist vested as a bishop, wearing a small mitre. He held an open book in his left hand and in its pages the lines and letters could clearly be seen. He appeared to be preaching but no voice was heard. He stood so that his back was neither turned to the Virgin or to the Lamb that stood upon a simple plain altar. Behind the Lamb was a Cross. The witnesses watched and prayed for over 2 hours and though they were wet, they noticed that no rain fell on upon the Apparition or on the gable.

Apparently mum & Uncle Jim nearly ended up in a mass by mistake but luckily they found an exit door at the back!

The next day Ireland’s summer arrived & it was a wonderful day so we chilled & had a BBQ. Sally & Colin came to visit & brought a beautiful salad grown on their smallholding. A few drinks were drunk of course!

The next day we all set off to the village of Cong which is famous for The Quiet Man film that mum had never heard of! Starring John Wayne & Maureen O’Hara’ A retired American boxer returns to the village of his birth in 1920s Ireland, where he falls for a spirited redhead whose brother is contemptuous of their union. There’s a museum & statue in the village & we found very nice walkies by the river. Here’s the trailer for the film The Quiet Man

The next day we headed west & firstly visited the pretty village of Newport where mum found water & boats & we had a drink at the pub.

Next we dropped down to the very colourful town of Westport via Kilmeena Causeway where mum managed to snap one of those perfect Irish photos. No not the one of Uncle Jim driving the other one!

Mum & Auntie Angela went off exploring while Uncle Jim stayed with us in the van. We were all having a nice peaceful snooze when we were awoken by a loud clip clopping going past the van. We barked our heads off at It & Uncle Jim woke up with a shock to see 2 mad women on the back of a horse & carriage waving frantically at us all.

Thursday became the last day of our holiday as we decided to leave a day early as the weather was good for moving the boat Friday whereas it was forecast to be windy Saturday. On or last day we visited the small sculpture Park at Kiltimagh & then had walkies round Clare Lake. We were then abandoned as they went out for tea & mum introduced Auntie Angela to Baby Guinness!

So on Friday it was back in the van after a lovely break as we all headed back to Golden Boyz at Cootehall Marina ready for our next cruising adventure.

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