A GHOSTLY image of a nun in the window of a derelict convent which was about to be demolished is the talk of YouTube.
Earlier this month, a locally based video and TV company in Claremorris filmed the demolition of the old Convent of Mercy in the Co. Mayo town.
But the film crew didn't bargain on an eerie 'extra' - a nun in traditional grab – making a cameo appearance.
On March 14, video and TV company Frame Productions uploaded the short film titled Claremorris Convent Demolition onto YouTube.
The three-minute video shows the dilapidated building before, during and after demolition.
As the camera scans the derelict building just before it was reduced to rubble, what appears to the figure of a nun in traditional garb is seen looking out from an upper window.
The video has become a sensation, receiving thousands of hits.
Kevin Griffiths, manager of Frame Productions, is 'rather amused' by the reaction.
He doesn't believe it's a ghost.
“It's not a nun, just a bit of light,” he says dismissively.
Some people firmly believe the 'apparition' does involve a nun wearing the traditional habit that nuns wore prior to Vatican II in 1962.
This habit includes the enormous white circular collar which hung over the shoulders and down to the waist.
Despite numerous opinions to the contrary, local historian Mattie Masterson believes the 'ghostly figure' is a hoax.
“I think somebody is having a bit of fun,” he declared.
Amongst others in the south Mayo town, however, there is a strong belief in the authenticity of the startling image.
“It's the dead nun's way of expressing displeasure over the destruction of a fine old building where they once lived a noble existence,” one local woman, who has strong religious beliefs, asserted.
The now demolished Convent of Mercy building began its life in 1876 with the purchase of Claremount House and a 84-acre farm.
The first four Sisters (1877) set the land, grew fruit and vegetables, which they sold, and opened a bakery in order to make ends meet.
Schools were later opened.
In August 2000, the last remaining Sisters left the convent to live in a smaller house in Claremorris.
Claremount House and the adjoining convent was sold to a local developer.
The original 18th century Claremount House was not included in the recent demolition and proudly remains standing.
* Story by Joanna McNicholas and Tom Shiel