The Virgin Mary Shrine at Carrownacroagh near Headford in Galway was erected in 1954, and is one of the many Marian shrines that dot the Irish countryside, reflecting the devotion and reverence that the Irish people have for the mother of Jesus. 

The year 1954 was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII as a Marian Year, the first in the history of the Catholic Church. The pope wanted to commemorate the centenary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which states that Mary was conceived without original sin. He also wanted to promote Marian devotion and consecration, especially in light of the challenges and threats posed by communism, secularism and war.

The Marian Year was marked by various celebrations and events throughout the world, such as pilgrimages, processions, novenas, rosaries, statues, medals and stamps. In Ireland, where Mary has always been held in high esteem and affection, the Marian Year was a time of fervent and widespread piety. Hundreds of shrines to Mary and the Immaculate Conception were built or renovated throughout the country, often by local communities or parish groups. These shrines were usually located at prominent or scenic spots, such as crossroads, hillsides, bridges or wells. They were adorned with statues, flowers, candles and inscriptions, and became places of prayer and pilgrimage for many faithful.

The Shrine at Carrownacroagh was built in 1954 by a local committee led by Fr. John O’Donoghue, the parish priest of Headford at the time. The shrine is situated at a corner of a crossroads on a raised platform surrounded by a low wall. It consists of a white concrete arch with a blue background. Inside the arch is a statue of Mary standing on a globe with a serpent under her feet, holding a rosary in her right hand and extending her left hand in blessing. The statue is based on the image of Our Lady of Fatima, who appeared to three shepherd children in Portugal in 1917 and asked them to pray for peace and conversion.

The shrine at Carrownacroagh is a testament to the enduring faith and devotion of the people of Headford and Galway. It is a place where they can express their love and gratitude to the Virgin Mary. It is also a place where they can find peace and hope in times of trouble and uncertainty.


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Virgin Mary Shrine



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