By David Hennessy

Some time in the late 1960s or early 1970s my godmother, who was a sacristan in the local church, related the following story.

While tending to the tidying and general cleaning that was needed after the church had closed, she noticed a visitor. Taking little or no notice she decided to continue with her work. Eventually, becoming somewhat curious, she noticed the visitor was a curate.

After pleasantries were exchanged, they settled into conversation. Strangely though, the priest spoke about events that happened almost fifty years earlier. He asked my godmother was Hannie (this is most likely Hannah or Annie) as she was known, still working in the church.

Hannie was my godmother’s aunt, and had started working in the church some time around 1920, during the height of the War of Independence.

My aunt said she was no longer working there but her two nieces, my mother and my godmother, as well as my grandmother, took over after Hannie retired. After about an hour the priest explained that he had to leave and thanked my godmother for her time.

Several minutes later my godmother decided to go outside as she didn’t hear a car and as the church was and still is in a rather rural location, she wondered how the priest was getting home. Moreover, it was a dark winter’s night.
Going outside, she looked up and down the lonely road outside the church and saw nothing, no car lights, not even in the distance…nothing at all.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own