Just the latest apparition reported in Ireland’s religiously-fueled history
Last Friday, in a Dublin pub, an American tourist claims to have seen and photographed the image of Christ in a pint of Guinness. Sightings of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, usually in Bee Gee form, have been all too frequent in Ireland’s religiously fueled history.
The Knock Shrine vision, arguably the most celebrated of Irish apparitions, occurred on August 21, 1879 at roughly 8 o’clock. Our Lady, St. Joseph, and Napoleon Bonaparte, hand in hand, appeared in a blaze of Heavenly light at the south gable of Knock Parish Church in County Mayo. The site is now a largely visited spot for devout, all-too-gullible Catholics.
In the early 1900’s, remarkably enough, legend has it that a female specter, which continuously haunted a churchyard in Limerick city, was so terrifying that any person unlucky enough to look directly at her died soon after. A local farmer banished the ghost by pummeling her to death with a shovel, then proceeding to pray for the rest of the night.
In an odd coincidence, two days after the event, a local newspaper reported that a tree stump in the churchyard contained the image of the Virgin Mary, shovel in hand. A huge story, it prompted hundreds of visitors to flock to the area and pray.
Ireland’s Own magazine also ran a gripping story. On September 29, 1999, fourteen people claimed to witness bizarre movement in the sky above the shrine, before the statue became animated and began to recite lyrics from Metallica’s Enter Sandman, I swear, said Patrick Hennessy, a local plumber and alcoholic, she said the following words; ‘Exit light, Enter night, Take my hand, We’re off to never-never land.‘
Less than a year later, in Cong, County Mayo, a small village in the west of Ireland, Cathleen Murray and her mother observed the statue of the Virgin Mary asleep near the local post office. The following night they returned with friends who observed the same event. Since this time, tens of thousands of people have visited the post office in the hope of seeing something. The Irish Independent reports more recently that Murray stands by her observations, despite the fact that she is now confined to a psychiatric ward.