The Princess made her first communion on Saturday. Although the weather was not terrific, the whole thing passed off reasonably peacefully. Relatives travelled from far and wide: one aunt from Holland, one from London, one great aunt and one grandmother from Cork and all the others from the South side of the Liffey, a journey which my brother pointed out was really further than any other.
As our house, alas, is too small to accommodate visitors, my mother stayed with an old friend of hers – a really lovely woman who is also a friend of mine. When I told her where the ceremony was she gasped in mock horror and said to my mother, “What have we done to our children?” And the location was a little daunting. The ceremony was in a church in the north inner city surrounded by boarded up flats and beautiful, though sadly decaying, Georgian buildings. Very authentic.
The congregation contained more people with tattoos than I have ever seen together in one place. When I mentioned this to a colleague she commented, “You’ve never been on a package holiday to the sun, then.” True, I suppose. Many of them were the kind of people you would feel slightly nervous about meeting in a dark alley. On the plus side, if you did meet them, clearly, “My daughter is your son’s class” would be a get out of gaol free card.
The service itself was lovely. The children looked very smart in their school uniforms. They all had speaking roles [in Irish] and they were very impressive. I was really proud of my little girl who delivered her prayer of the faithful confidently and fluently and who led singing after communion [reprise here]. Unlike other cases I have heard about, the congregation didn’t do odd things like talk loudly throughout the ceremony. Although those of us who spoke some Irish were at a considerable disadvantage as we would hop up when the priest said “Seasaigí” and nervously sit down again when we realised that the only other people standing were the first communicants.
After the mass we took ourselves off to a restaurant on the quays which served pizza and things that the grown-ups might like also and the Princess started raking in cash. She did say thank you very nicely to her generous relatives. As with all group events, it took ages for the food to arrive but, miraculously, all of the children were exceptionally well behaved. The boys were clearly influenced by their new jackets [too big, alas, worn over trousers which turned out to be too short, sigh] which they thought were very smart.
All in all, I think it went very well.