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                                                         INISHMAGRATH PARISH PILGRIMAGE


There is a 300 year old chalice in Inishmagrath Parish, given to Father Myles McPartlan in 1718. The Pastoral Committee decided to do something to recognise the faith handed down in the area over the 300 years.

It resulted in an Inishmagrath Parish Pilgrimage from St. Brigid’s Church, Drumkeeran to the old ruins of the Church of Kilbride on Sunday 29th July, journeying along the old Dowra Road.

Since the Parish of Inisgmagrath is frequently spoken of as Drumkeeran Parish it is necessary to explain that the Parish of Inishmagrath consists of Drumkeeran, Tarmon and Creevelea; the  church in Drumkeeran is St. Brigid’s, in Tarmon St. Patrick’s and in Creevelea, St. Brigid’s. Prior to 1968/69 Inishmagrath Parish consisted of  Drumkeeran, Tarmon and Newbridge. Creevelea was the part of Killargue Parish. Now Newbridge is part of Ballinaglera Parish.

Father Myles McPartlan was Parish Priest of Inishmagrath 1695 to 1737. He erected Kilbride Church in 1735. It was a roofless church. (It’s story deserves another article). Father Myles is buried within the old church ruins “on the Gospel side of the Altar“.

Thus it was appropriate that the pilgrimage, carrying the chalice, should be to Kilbride, where it would end with the Blessing of Graves in that cemetery. Each year the graves are blessed here in KIlbride. So why not compose Stations on this 7km pilgrimage walk to reflect on milestones in the life of parishioners and also, something that would suit all the family in this year of World Meeting of Families in Dublin this August.

The first station began in St. Brigid’s Church and was a reflection on Baptism, when we’re invited into the life of the Trinity in infancy. We are given life and the promise of eternal life. Pilgrims then listened to the last words in Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus, At the Ascension, said he wanted all to be baptised. Then the pilgrims went forward to the Baptismal font and blessed themselves with holy water to set out on the Pilgrimage. Physical features on the route were used to highlight milestones in Christian life.

The station at house of a young child reflected on years of dependency. Pilgrims listened to Jesus words in Matthew’s Gospel, Ch18;1-5, where He says we need to become like little children or we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. It was an opportunity to thank God for the people who support us during those years of dependency. Traditional musicians played a slow air, as these years cannot be rushed!

The GAA park provided another reason to stop and reflect. It began with God’s word to the Prophet Isaiah, Ch40;28–31. We thanked God for the years we are healthiest and fully fit. Father Tom Mc Manus, P.P. acknowledged the great work done by GAA volunteers and prayed for all who play, coach or administer in our local club. The musicians played lively music here, full of life and energy. The choir sang , “ Though the Mountains may Fall“.

Pilgrims stopped at a bridge to thank God for helping us over difficulties in life. We prayed for Pope Francis, the bridge builder and reconciler of peoples. We prayed that we, too, could be reconciled with others before we bring our offerings to the Altar. We listened to the words in Scripture in Matthew Ch5:24. The choir sang from “Amazing Grace “.

The next station was at a crossroads. We listened to Mark’s Gospel Ch10:17–22, where the man decided to put his trust in his own resources for security rather than in the person of Jesus. We reflected on the decisions we have to make in life and we prayed for the young people who have important decisions to make about study and work and relationships. We listened to Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken“. We took time to thank God for the lovely sunshine and lovely day and the lovely nature all around us. We listened to Joyce Kilmer’s poem, “Trees“. The choir sang “Be not Afraid“.

An unoccupied house was the scene of the next station, as we remembered generations gone before us and our own years of childhood. We listened to Robert Hood’s poem, “I Remember, I Remember“. The musicians played a hauntingly beautiful slow air followed by a hymn.

When pilgrims reached the cemetery at Kilbride having taken approximately 1 hour 40 minutes refreshments were enjoyed. Then followed a reflection on our earthly life and prayers for all who are buried there. We thanked God for the faith handed on by those good people.

The 1718 chalice was carried along the Pilgrimage to Kilbride, where it was used so long ago in the little roofless Kilbride Church (St. Brigid’s Church). It was carried by members of the Pastoral Committee, Eucharistic ministers and others.

Thus ended Inishmagrath Parish Pilgrimage, an inspiring and memorable happening in the very historical Parish of Inishmagrath. 

Thanks to Fr. Tom Mc Manus P.P. ,who contributed most of the material for this article .

Article written by Andrew Redican, August 2018.