Here’s some unexpectedly good news. Mrs. D. and I are going on a pilgrimage this summer to the Isle of Mull, in the Scottish Hebrides, led by a young Orthodox priest-monk. According to the website:
We shall visit some of the most remote and authentic places connected with early Celtic Christianity. Some of these places have been uninhabited for centuries, with no touristic or religious routes linking them to other destinations. Our pilgrimages are the only way one can visit some of these isles and pray to the Saints who lived here.
Among many other places, we shall visit Iona (Iona Abbey, Martyrs’ Bay, the Nunnery, St Oran’s Chapel, the famous Celtic High Crosses, St Columba’s Bay, the Hill of the Turning Back to Ireland, the Marble Quarry and the Machair); the ruins of St Kenneth’s monastery and the ancient hermit cells; St Brendan’s monastery on his uninhabited Isle; and some of the great Celtic Christian places on the Isle of Mull (The Nuns’ Cave, the Carsaig Arches, Kilninian etc).
Mrs. D. has been reading a lot of fiction set in Scotland, and has wanted to go on this pilgrimage for a long time. And so, off we shall go.
“I’m glad we’re doing this,” I told her last night. “I’ve wanted to go to the ancient Celtic Christian sites, but you know how I am about traveling and eating. I only want to go to places where I can eat well. Nobody thinks of Scotland as a culinary destination.”
Such is my holiness.
“Maybe they have oysters there,” she said. “It is an island, after all.”
So, to Google I went, in search of oysters on the Isle of Mull. Well, well, well, my dears, what have we here:
It turns out that not only does the Isle of Mull have a significant oyster industry, it also produces all kinds of seafood. I’ll be in heaven! I mentioned this to Father Seraphim, who leads the pilgrimage, and he responded:
Mull DOES have oysters and they are amazingly delicious. I am so happy I shall no longer have to hide when I buy them; no-one else in past pilgrimages wanted to even taste them, and I absolutely love them. They are so fresh they are still covered in seaweed; they wash and open them just there, in front of you, ten metres away from the boat.
Yes, yes, YES! An Orthodox monk who is a fellow lover of oysters! We will eat them dockside. Yes, it’s summertime, the worst time for oysters in Louisiana. But on Mull, the high doesn’t get above the low 60s.
I am quite sure that St. Columba must have been an oyster-eater. He must have. I won’t hear otherwise.
There are no more slots left in the summer pilgrimage we will take (Fr. Seraphim limits the group to 10), but there are a few more on one of the two earlier ones, if you’d like to go. Don’t you dare eat all the oysters before I get there.
This summer, I will be reading about Celtic Christianity, once I’m done with the revisions to the Benedict Option book. Please feel free to make book recommendations.
(Photo above from www.mullmonastery.com)
@roddreher don’t vote for trump and you can have them for free.
— Isle of Mull Oysters (@gturnbull1) January 26, 2016