From the Nunnery to the Castle

In the Summer of 1968 or ’69 I was marooned in the convent in Stamullen, Co Meath. Kindly Nora & Eoin, who were dating at the time decided to visit me and I begged of them to take me with them. Anything to escape my present enclosure! I was prepared to go on the car rack if necessary so I promised to sit quietly in the back seat and they were free to ignore me!

Anyway off we went and was I glad (at the time I was stationed in California, but was obliged to spend some time in a convent during my stay in Ireland). I remember we stopped off at the beach in Gormanston and took some photos and I still have one of Eoin & myself there. Looking at it now, I think we were all so young … where have all the years gone ? Later that evening we arrived at Skryne Castle and were warmly greeted by Mrs. Hickey.

Nora & Eoin left us to attend a dance in the locality and Elizabeth and I had a most pleasant evening. We chatted about many things and looked at some family albums. Initially, I thought I would be scared sleeping in a castle for the first time! One conjures visions of ghosts etc ! Quite the contrary I was very relaxed thanks to the welcome and graciousness of my hostess.

The following day we set off for Waterford, where Nora was working at the Tower Hotel. In the afternoon of the same day, Nora and I picked up some chicken and had a picnic on the beach. At a later time, I think the next day, Nora took me to the train station where I boarded a train for Limerick. Many years later, I have thought back on the whole event, and realized what I had imposed on my sister and her boyfriend… they must have needed me like a sore head … not to mention burdening her future mother-in law with my presence!

I’m sure I was the first nun to stay at Scryne Castle which was also one of my first outings with Nora & Eoin. I’ m happy to say we have had many more great occasions since then and eagerly await many more times together in the future God willing.

Therese Byrnes-Lally

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