We know that many of you will be off to see the Pope when he visits Dublin and Knock next weekend. So being ever conscious of your safety, comfort and conveyance we asked journalist Ger Leddin to research a bit on what you should bring or not bring to enjoy the experience.
I’m unfortunate to be old enough to remember the last time that Ireland had a Papal visit. In fact, I was old enough to be working in an organisation which was involved with organising some of the arrangements at one of the sites back in 1979. As you can imagine it was a very busy period in our working lives but the excitement and the up-close and personal opportunity of seeing a Pontiff on the first Papal visit to Ireland made it all worthwhile. But I did learn from the experience.
Ok, let’s look at the five top things you should bring when you go to see the Pope.
1. Rosary Beads and Souvenirs
Rosary Beads and some souvenir things that you can pick up around the train or bus station on your way. You see, my reasoning around this is simple. When the Pope blesses the crowd as he is bound to do, you can hold up your souvenirs and they’ll be included in the blessing.
Then when you go back home pack the items carefully away in the attic for about forty or so years until the next Papal visit where they will increase in value and you can sell them for a great big profit. All the better if you can take a selfie of the items with the Pope in the background this will increase their value immensely. Better still if you can get the Pope to sign them, although this might prove to be difficult.
2. Dress for the Weather
In researching for this article I went to the Met Éireann website to get an idea of the forecast for the weekend ahead and to be honest I’m more confused now than I was before I started. It’s either going to be sunny and warm or raining and cold — typical!
Anyway, you know how it is in Ireland, so bring a few T-shirts and a few woollen Jackets and I suppose a one or two of those plastic poncho thingies, better make it three, as those things always seem to self-destruct as soon as you put them on.
3. Bring Some Cash
I’m serious, bring along a couple of Euro and be prepared to part with it at the gates of either The Phoenix Park or at Knock. You see, it is estimated that the whole Papal visit will cost the Irish Government upwards of thirty-one-million yo-yos and that’s a fair bit of cash for the Government to dish out over two days and it’s likely to leave them a bit strapped for the rest of the year.
When the Pope goes back, Leo and the boys will still have the day to day running of the country to get on with, like dealing with the non-existent healthcare system and the homeless problem. When you consider that thirty-one-million would build homes for one-hundred and four Irish families or pay the salary of more than a thousand nurses or even go some way towards the wages of one senior hospital consultant for a year, wouldn’t it be nice if we as a nation gave Leo a bit of a dig-out? Perhaps think about handing around a collection plate at the gates?
4. Ladies, don’t forget the makeup
There are strong rumours circulating around Dublin that the Swiss Guard lads who travel with the Pope as his personal bodyguard will be visiting Copper Face Jacks on Saturday night. These guys are all in their thirties, tall, fit, good looking and most importantly single. A Perfect catch for the thirty-something Irish single female.
So ladies get on the glad-rags, get the hair done and make yourself seen.
5. A set of jump-leads
Most visiting Heads of State to Ireland are driven around in great big limousines and we all remember Barrack Obama’s car getting stuck on the ramp outside the American Embassy in Dublin, much to the embarrassment of the Secret Service. But this Pope favours much smaller cars; he used a Fiat 500 when he visited the States recently.
Now I’m not saying anything bad about small little Fiats, but let’s face it, sometimes they are not known for their reliability. Wouldn’t it be terrible if the thing stalled on the way from or to Croke Park or the Phoenix Park and few cardinals or bishops had to give it a push start? It’s no harm to be prepared and seriously if you’re the only guy in the crowd with jump-leads wouldn’t your mammy be so proud.
So there you have your essential guide to being prepared to go to either Dublin or Knock for the Papal visit to Ireland and remember this is only the second Papal visit ever to Ireland in around forty-years, I suppose at thirty-one-million a pop that may be just as well.