Monday, January 21, 2019

A relaxed day in Queenstown

I had a relaxed day and a bit to explore a little of Queenstown, that included a little family history fossicking.
 First place I headed was down to the famous 'beach'. As it was a warm day, more and more people arrived there as evening drew on.

 I saw the TSS Earnslaw coming into the wharf- and two rather crazy, fully clothed men jumped off- somehow that fitted my prejudices about Queenstown being a party town. They came very close to the boat- it really was a stupid thing to do- and then one of them struggled to swim to shore, so other craft came to see if he needed rescuing. But all of that can't take away from the fact that this steamer from 1912 is a magnificent ship.
There were many people on the beach watching the sunset- and then a procession of many paragliders started gliding down, then landing on the beach (or near it, in the water).

 Next morning I climbed up to the Catholic Church, which I knew had been built when Fr John Francis O'Donnell was parish priest- a cousin of my great-grandfather.
 Since coming home I have read more about the building of this little church, and how the local people quarried and carted all the stone for building it.
 Fr O'Donnell donated a statue of the Blessed Virgin and Child which is still in the church. (More about Fr O'Donnell here.)

 Next I headed up to the Gondola. I am pleased I did this 'touristy' thing as the views were magnificent.

 Maybe 'next time' I will do the luge!

 Just down from the gondola is the Queenstown cemetery, and I went there to find the grave of John Francis O'Donnell, which was in fact easily found.

 It was next to the headstone for another priest with a magnificent Celtic cross.

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