When I first moved to Ireland I was surprised by the number of small marian shrines dotted around the country. They're still there and despite what you might believe given the current climate, they still seem to be very well looked after. This picture is of one that I walked by the other day when leaving the car down to the mechanic.

Generally I've seen these shrines in the middle of county council or city council housing estates. I don't know for sure, but I presume that the people who do the looking after are simply local people who, despite everything we've learned about how the Catholic Church has behaved in recent decades, refuse to let anything shake their faith. I admire them for that. I've never seen grafitti on any one of these and they always seem to be immaculately kept. This one - like others I've seen - is lit up at night.

You know, I did read the year it was erected, but now I can't quite remember. And I can't read the plaque beneath Mary. I think it was 1954 (& restored in 1993), but I could be wrong.