IT might have taken nearly 1,600 years but Attymass, the small rural parish just outside Ballina, has just erected a special commemorative plaque to mark the missionary work of Saint Patrick in the parish around 430 AD.
The Bonnifinglas Cemetery Group arranged for a local artist, Conor Maguire of Ballina, to design the plaque, which depicts the point, according to tradition, where St. Patrick first entered the parish by crossing the River Moy at the back of Bonnifinglas Cemetery to bring Christianity to the area.
The hand painted plaque has been erected in the graveyard, just yards from the point where he crossed the Moy. The plaque was erected to coincide with the annual cemetery Mass.
Bridie Padden, a member of the cemetery group, commented: “The parish wanted to explain the story of Saint Patrick’s visit to Attymass and commemorate it with the plaque, which explains the story to future generations and tourists to the area.”
Attymass is also home of internationally famous priest, the late Fr. Patrick Peyton, who was known as ‘The Rosary Priest’, and the Fr. Peyton Memorial Centre in the parish commemorates his life and apostolic work.
The parish is also home to a large number of historic sites which date back to over five and half thousand years ago. These include a court tomb, wedge tombs, crannògs, an Ogham stone, numerous ring forts, holy wells and part of the 13th century Kildermot Abbey.
In Bonnifinglas graveyard there is also a famine plot containing a number of graves and an original famine pot used in the parish during the Famine is on constant display in the Fr. Peyton Centre.
For more information about the parish, visit www.attymass.ie.