Lorna Byrne / Sanctuary (June 12)

A nice lady at Jerpoint Abbey told us that the only nearby place to eat was The Blackberry Cafe in the village of Thomastown. So off we went. We found free parking and walked about two blocks to the cafe. Shortly after we ordered, three people sat at the table next to us — a couple from Finland and a single lady.

Bob heard them talking about gardening and suggested that Marilyn ask about a flower we had been seeing a lot of. We thought maybe it was Queen Anne’s Lace. She told us that growing up they were told it was “the devil’s bread” but when Bob Googled that later we learned that is poison hemlock (more about that later).

This was an interesting lady named Lorna Byrne who, it turned out, conducts conferences all over the world about spirituality. She grew up Catholic but her conferences cover all faiths (and no faiths). She presents as a rather retiring, soft-spoken, small woman. She has several published books and one of them was read by an American who sought her out and, after getting to know her and realizing that, at 70 years old, she may not be able to continue to travel so much, he purchased an “estate” near her farm and is renovating the beautiful house to be used for her conferences. It is in a foundation for her use. Some of the bedrooms will also be used for ill people she sometimes takes in. This link has a video of some of the early work on the house and garden while this one explains more about her life. Whether one believes this woman can see angels or not, her sincerity was very clear.

In addition to the house, the grounds have a huge garden that she hopes (and has begun) to grow food for area needs.

It truly is an estate. So far the main floor is almost finished including this room for her presentations. The beautiful chandeliers have been donated.

The couple with Lorna are from Finland and come periodically to help with the garden and the house.

The garden is huge and was the original garden on the estate but was, apparently, totally overgrown when they began work on it. There are all kinds of vegetables and herbs and it has a large greenhouse.

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