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Today, Sunday August 15th Is St. Mary’s Day – Lá Fhéile Muire.

St. Mary’s Day, Sunday August 15th is celebrated on the Feast of the Assumption, when Mary the mother of Jesus ascended into Heaven. It was a Holy Day of Obligation in the Roman Catholic Church and observed as a festival in the Anglican Communion.

Back in 1856, history recalls that on this same date, a Roscommon protestant landlord, named Guy Lloyd, of Croghan House made headlines, when he sacked some 22 Roman Catholic labourers, who refused to work on the Feast of the Ascension of St. Mary, the mother of Jesus.

News of the sackings quickly spread creating a major scandal at that time, resulting in donations pouring in from all over Ireland, England and further afield; into a fund established by then Rev. Peter C. O’Connor, Parish Priest of Croghan, and his Curate Rev. Fr. Thomas O’Beirne C.C. on behalf of the sacked Croghan labourers.

The name Mary was very often given as a middle name for boys (e.g. Joseph Mary Plunkett, Irish nationalist, poet, journalist, and revolutionary leader of the 1916 Easter Rising) and as a double Christian name to multiple girls of the same family (e.g. Mary Kate, Mary Jo, etc).

The Christian name Mary / Marie has long been a popular name bestowed on Irish girls, with as many as one-quarter of the population of Ireland christened “Mary” back in 1923.

Devotion to Naomh Muire (the Blessed Virgin Mary or St. Mary) came to Ireland first with the Normans in the 12th century, who later established shrines and chapels in her honour, all across this island.

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