County Mayo


Murrisk Abbey
Croagh Patrick
May 7, 2001





All of the above pictures are of the Murrisk Abbey

The Augustinian Church and priory was founded in 1457 on land donated by Teig O'Malley, chieftain of the O'Malley Clan.  The Protestant Reformation did not effect the abbey at Murrisk until 1577 when the Augustinians were driven from their sanctuary but remained in the neighbourhood, ministering to the people.  Historically, the Abbey is intimately connected with Croaghpatrick, the mountain peak where St. Patrick fasted and prayed for forty days and forty nights.


The pictures below were taken at the foot of Croagh Patrick, across the street from Murrisk Abbey and the Famine Memorial
See history below pictures...



In ancient times the mountain was called Cruachan Aigle, the sanctuary of Crom Dudh, a pagan Celtic deity.  Tradition has it that Patrick subdued Crom and his demons and cast them into the hollow at the base of the mountain known to this day as Lug-na-nDeamhan (Hollow of Demons).  In the encounter, Patrick's Bell, a present from an angel to the saint and made of pure silver, was rendered black and corroded, as at present seen, by contact with the demons on the mountain.

Until the latter part of the 19th Century the relic was much venerated by the people when displayed in the mountain-top oratory on days of pilgrimages.  In former times a pilgrimage was held on the Saint's Feast Day, the 17th of March.  On this date in 1113 A.D., the Annals tell us, thirty of the fasting folk perished in a thunderstorm on the mountain top.  Nowadays, pilgrims make the ascent on the last Sunday in July.