Our parish heritage received a surprising and a enriching link with the Camino de Santiago in 1996. During site excavations near Austin Friars Street a monastic cemetery was discovered. Some of the monks were discovered to have been buried wearing the wearing the scallop shell - a long associated emblem of the pilgrim to the Shrine of St James the Apostle in Compostela.
The remains of the monks were buried in the Cathedral Grounds and in 2012, a parish committee established a Camino Garden to mark their new resting place with a monument which connects with some of the stops along the Camino. A fountain with a shell as its centerpiece was chosen to represent the refreshment which pilgrims enjoy along various stages of the Camino de Santiago.
400 parishioners and visitors took part in a camino from Fore Abbey in Collinstown Parish through Taughmon parish in 2013. This journey marked the Year of Faith and connected with the faith of previous generations.
The Camino Garden was officially inaugurated by Bishop Michael Smith on 24 August 2013 in the presence of representatives of the Spanish Embassy.
2015 Camino Walk from Fore
The pilgrim walk on Saturday 20 June 2015 built on the rich heritage of the region and on the success of the Camino held during the Year of Faith in July 2013. Fr Michael Kilmartin and the committee express their appreciation to all who opened their homes and provided hospitality to the walkers and to the many stewards.
The warm welcome for pilgrim walkers at Fore, Collinstown, Clondelever, Loughegar School, Scally's Forge, Austin Friars Street and the Cathedral was much commented on by all participants.
2015 saw the involvement of retailers along the walking route with businesses decorating their windows to capture the spirit of Santiago de Compostela. Thanks also to those who guided the visually impaired through the day.
A six minute video of the 2015 pilgrim walk is available at www.mullingarparish.ie/camino
The photos in the parish Flickr album (available here) were taken by Fr Michael and by Fr Robert.
Further developments are planned in the near future. Please follow our dedicated facebook page www.facebook.com/CaminoGarden