A PILGRIM trail through the streets of Ennis has been created to reflect on the suffering caused by the pandemic and to mark the feast of Easter. Representing the stations of the cross, a number of art works and images have been installed in windows from the monastery of the Poor Clares, through Abbey Street, The Square and into O’Connell Street.
Director of Youth Ministry for the Killaloe Diocese Joanne O’Brien said the aim is to help people to reflect on the meaning of Easter as well as on the struggles of the last year.
The initiative will culminate on Easter Saturday with the installation of an Easter Garden at the Town Hall on O’Connell Street.
The trail has been in the planning for the last six weeks and also involves Pastoral Worker Maureen Kelly and Dr Sue O’Brien who is Director of Ecumenism for the Diocese of Killaloe. “We came together, along with Róisín O’Loughlin and Sr Betty O’Riordan to work with Sue to find a way to help people to mark Easter,” explained Joanne. “We wanted to create something consoling because people would ordinarily be able to come together to mark the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. Shop owners allowed us to use their windows and we’ve worked with artists to create a variety of installations. The trail starts at the porch of the Poor Clare’s monastery. They’re an amazing group of women who are praying for us all of the time. The trail then goes up to Liam Hogan’s where we have an award-winning press photo of an elderly man in a nursing home. His wife can’t come in and her reflection is caught in the window. We have another press photo of the funeral of the first doctor to die in Ireland, Dr Syed Waqqar Ali. That is in the place of the station where Jesus is laid in the tomb. We wanted to capture that terrible grief and all of the deaths and funerals that had to happen without all of the lovely ways that Irish people would normally be able to support each other.”
St Joseph’s Secondary School in Tulla also came on board to lend some of its collection of fine art paintings. There are also some 3-D installations, one of which represents how the earth is being stripped of its resources. “In the window of Pandora on O’Connell Street, at the station which would normally represent Jesus being stripped of his robes, we have a piece that shows how the earth is being depleted of resources,” Joanne explained. “Pope Francis said that the church should be like a field hospital after a battle and this is part of what we wanted to do, to get out into the streets. The installation at the opticians on Abbey Street has the world ‘help’ in 3-D and has details of the helping agencies who lift all us use when we fall.”
The response to the trail is something that Joanne has also witnessed in the lead up to Easter. “I have seen people walking along, then something catches their eye and they stop to look,” she said. “We have cards on the windows to help people reflect. We are very aware that many people won’t be able to travel to Ennis because of the restrictions and all of the pieces can be seen on Killaloediocese.ie. It is a lovely calming thing to see and it will be in place on the streets until Tuesday, April 6.”