Since 2008 the focus of much of my time spent in Ireland and England has been for my history work, as well as family history research, but this summer I decided to change it up a bit, and enjoy some holiday time with my husband. Family history fit neatly on the bill on this trip as well, and is in fact one of the principal reasons for our travelling out of Paris and into northern France and Belgium. My history work also figured into the plan, but that is a story for another day.
In the course of my travels there have been a number of weighty stories to contemplate, but for now and in honour of summer, for the next little while I am going to keep it light.
So... for your viewing pleasure here are some French sights with an Irish connection.
|The Cathedral of Notre Dame|
As a student Daniel O'Connell bore witness to the Revolution in France. He fervently believed in the ideals of liberty, fraternity, and democracy which drove the Revolution, but saw the terrible violence of that time as an untenable route to democracy. O'Connell shared the ideals with Irish Catholics, telling them he believed Ireland could achieve true democracy without the kind of violence which had marked the French Revolution. O'Connell was deeply admired by many in France, and following his death in Genoa, Italy, in May of 1847, French Catholic activists organized a requiem mass for the Great Liberator at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. At that mass on 10 February 1848, the famous French preacher and liberal, Henri Lacordaire, delivered a lengthy funeral sermon for Daniel O’Connell, saying of him, "Your glory is not only Irish, it is Catholic."
|Café De La Paix |
Established in May of 1862, it is located directly across from the Paris Opera House.
In fact, the history of the café holds that on a beautiful and very hot summer afternoon in 1898, regular customer Oscar Wilde, witnessed a strange phenomenon when he looked out the window from the perspective of his favourite table. The street had just been watered down on Place de L'Opera, and a light mist was rising from the ground. Suddenly, within the fog forming across the square, Oscar Wilde saw a large golden angel appear, an angel who seemed to keep growing in size. This sighting caused quite an uproar on the premises. It is said that women fainted and tables were knocked over. What was this extraordinary phenomenon? It was actually the reflection of the sun's rays against one of the gold leaf statues which stands atop the Opera house. As the sun's rays reflected into the mist, it made it appear as though the angel was floating in the middle of the square.
|The Palais Garnier Paris Opera House.|
|Those angels in gold leaf.|
|Tomb of Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright extraordinaire.|
|Shakespeare and Company Bookshop|
Click on images to view larger versions.