Two Tipperary clergy decided to visit the Canary Islands and targeted the easternmost Spanish island of Lanzarote as their ultimate destination, during a proposed upcoming and well deserved summer vacation.
Remembering past vacations, where they had accidentally bumped into drunken members of their respective parishes from back home; this year they had decided to not wear any item of clothing that could identify them, firstly as priests and secondly as natives of Tipperary. With parish church attendance numbers down greatly, they were determined to have no embarrassing encounters which could lead to their parishioners being ashamed to attend any future church services on arrival back home. (e.g. reminiscences of the local newly married Ryan couple back in 1999, whom both men had unexpectedly encountered ‘honeymooning prematurely’ on the floor of the hotel lift, still sent chills down both men’s spines. This Ryan couple despite increasing their family size to 7 in just 5 years, had not seen sight nor sound of a sermon insides their local churches during that same 5 year period, despite having first make each others acquaintance at a Christian Solidarity gathering in Thurles, the year before their decision to marry.)
As soon as the jet plane had landed at Arrecife Airport; both devout priests headed for a clothing store to purchase some, shall we say, rather out of character trouser shorts, flowery shirts, open toed sandals and giant sunglasses.
The next morning, dressed in their ‘tourist clobber’ and carrying a couple of hotel deck chairs, they headed to the sandy beach to enjoy the local, over priced tipple and take in the glorious sunshine; to which, back home, they were unaccustomed. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a gorgeous blonde dressed in a topless bikini and wearing sun glasses, came walking in their direction. As she passed them, she smiled, nodded and greeted them both with the salutation, “Good Morning Fathers, enjoy the sun!” Both priests were stuck speechless; how in God’s name did she know they were members of the priesthood?
Next day, feeling their last mode of dress was perhaps somewhat outdated, they went back to the clothing store and purchased even more outrageous casual outfits; determined not to be identified again during their remaining 10 day stay. Now dressed in this new attire, they settled down again in their chairs, confident they could enjoy their well deserved holiday without fear of being further recognised, interrupted and even embarrassed.
A short time later the same gorgeous blonde, wearing a different coloured topless bikini and sunglasses, came walking toward them. She again nodded at each of them reciting a similar salutation; ‘Reverend Fathers good morning! Has not the Almighty blessed us with lovely sunshine? Do be careful of not getting too sun burned on your second day”, she warned, before continuing to walk past.
Unable to stand it any longer, one of the priests called out after her, “Excuse me, young lady, I must know, how in God’s name did you recognise us as priests, particularly dressed as we are currently?”
Raising her sunglasses on her forehead, the woman replied, “Fathers, it’s me, Sister Kathleen from your local convent.”