In 2013, Michael Walsh and Yvonne Tyler walked on pilgrimage from Holycross Abbey,
Tipperary to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. The journey of 2500 kilometres took 100 days, crossing through Ireland, France, and Spain.
On their departure date the 7th April, there was a farewell reception after mass with Fr Celsus Tierney in the Abbey. The local Community group gave them both two small oak medallions. These were copies of the Abbey’s medieval crest which is displayed on the Waking Bier in the Abbey. They were carved by Tom Gallagher from a piece of an old beam that was used in the restoration of the Abbey and was sourced by Pat McGrath. Yvonne and Michael were asked to take them to Santiago de Compostela and leave one in the Cathedral there and return the remaining one to Holycross when back in Ireland.
During the Pilgrims’ mass in Santiago, Michael and Yvonne presented the Holycross pendants to the Dean of Santiago Cathedral, Dom Segundo Perez Lopez who blessed them in the following words…..
“At this Mass today we welcome two pilgrims from Ireland, Michael Walsh, and Yvonne Tyler. They arrived at this Cathedral today having walked every step of the way from the Abbey of Holy Cross in County Tipperary in Ireland. The Abbey of Holy Cross like the Cathedral of Santiago became a place of pilgrimage.
Michael and Yvonne have made a long journey of faith. Along the way, in France, and in Spain they have been joined by 14 other Irish pilgrims. Today they mark their arrival by offering before the tomb of Saint James a wooden medallion depicting the Cross of Christ our Saviour carved from the original wood of the Abbey of Holy Cross. I accept this on behalf of the Cathedral of Santiago and pray that every grace and blessing is bestowed on these worthy pilgrims. I offer them our thanks and congratulations.”
On their return to Ireland, the remaining pendant was presented to Fr Tom Breen (RIP) by Yvonne and Michael in Holycross Abbey in September 2013 (below).
Before returning it to the Abbey and with the guidance and assistance of Liz and Philip Quinn of Holycross, Michael made a sand casting from the medallion, smelted down some old brass, mainly old ammunition cartridges and created the replica of the Holycross Cross.
‘….and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.’