The Way – Not Always What You Think

The Way

 

Whenever I see those words, they jump out at me.  I’ve walked the Camino de Santiago – the 500-mile pilgrimage route in northern Spain – four times.  It has and continues to play an important role in my life.  Known by various names, El Camino, The Pilgrim Road, The Way of St. James – and for those who are intimately familiar with it, it is simply The Way. 

 

In 2010, Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez heightened awareness, particularly in the United States, of the pilgrimage with their fictional, yet inspiring film by the same title. 

The Way

 

Recently, when I was in Adare, Co. Limerick, I ducked into the cool interior of one of my favourite churches in Ireland, Holy Trinity Church.  Centrally situated on the main street, it is a stunning 14th century grey stone structure with simple yet elegant lines. On this visit, I was immediately intrigued when I spotted a cone-shaped, bronze sculpture tucked into a corner at the back of the church.

 

On first glance it reminded me of the Sorting Hat of Harry Potter fame, so, curious as to why something pertaining to Harry Potter would be in the church, I had to appease my curiosity by getting a closer look. 

Sorting hat

It was clearly NOT a Sorting Hat.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Camino de Santiago – near Cacabelos

 

However, due to the title The Way, my next assumption was to associate it somehow with the now famous Pilgrimage route.  The popularity of the Camino has grown immensely in Ireland as well.  Wrong again.  Despite the title, the fascinating sculpture had nothing at all to do with the Camino de Santiago. 

IMG_9783

Approximately two feet high, its conical shape represents the hill of Jerusalem.  There, the sculptor, John Blakely, obtained a 5 million-year-old piece of marble excavated from the city walls.  It is one of only three such stones to have been taken out of Jerusalem adding to the unique nature of this bas relief. The marble stone is embedded near the top of the bronze sculpture, which is actually a representation of a staircase and path leading through the city of Jerusalem, a path which Jesus would likely have used.

 

So in a manner of speaking, the Camino de Santiago and the Irish Sculpture are related.  Pilgrims making their way to Santiago de Compostela often make reference to Jesus’ words, “I am the way, the truth and the life”. Or perhaps it is just me – I seem to find correlations to the Camino de Santiago in many strange places. 

IMG_7415

Nonetheless, this piece is one of many treasures found in Holy Trinity Church.  When visiting Adare, with all there is to do and see, it is easy to overlook this beautiful church.  Don’t. 

2 thoughts on “The Way – Not Always What You Think

  1. Terri Jackson says:

    Four times – holy cow, and I bet each time was totally different. I love the story of the sculpture, the way all things relate and tangle together – what a unusual piece. I can see why you would have looked twice and had to get closer. I hope one day we get to Ireland. Getting a passport is on my list of things to do.

    • aStoirin says:

      Get that passport! You never know when an opportunity will present itself. Getting a passport can take a few months and expediting it is ridiculously expensive!
      I guess the tie to the Sorting Hat was kind of ridiculous, but when I saw it that was the first thing that came to mind!!!
      You should come to Ireland on my tour – 2016???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.