There were many reports of moving statues and religious appearances in Ireland during 1985. On 2 September 1985 claims were made that one such apparition occurred in Castleconnor in West Sligo.
Crowds gathered for night vigils after four local teenage girls reported seeing the Virgin Mary. In the weeks that followed further claims were made at the site.
Balls of fire, hosts, sometimes there was even the scent of flowers.
As the cynics argued with the believers and the clergy remained relatively silent, the affair was the talk of the country. However, as winter fell so too did the level of curiosity. Nine months later, signs on the roadside remind passers-by that Castleconnor was once the setting for something out of the ordinary.
A committee of local people is now erecting a Marian Shrine in the field where the apparitions are said to have occurred. Having recently acquired a life-size statue of the Blessed Virgin, which will be placed in a grotto with a statue of Bernadette alongside. Locals working on the grotto are supplying their labour free-of-charge.
Mick Wilson describes the work that is taking place and the plans for the new grotto. He says that Castleconnor is still attracting large crowds to their weekly and monthly vigils. The committee say that,
The construction of the shrine is helping to bring the community closer together
Liam Hallinan tells Tommie Gorman how the local community have got involved and convene at the shrine to say their evening rosary.
The four teenagers who initiated the gatherings continue to visit the site each day. It is hoped that the new shrine will be ready in September to mark the first anniversary of the apparitions.
An RTÉ News report by Tommie Gorman broadcast on 15 May 1986.