One of the four missing relics of Cong in County Mayo has been rediscovered but has yet to be authenticated.
There are four great relics associated with the dioceses of Tuam. Three of these relics are of a religious nature - the Cross of Cong, Black Bell of Saint Patrick (Clog Dubh), and Saint Patrick's Tooth (Fiacal Padraig). The fourth relic is The Blood of the King (Fuile an Rí), a tapestry frame with a small piece of discoloured linen said to have been dipped in the blood of Charles I at the time of his decapitation in 1649.
It is believed that the cloth had the power to cure the king's evil, which is a form of skin or glandular disease. Another story goes that it was taken back from the Holy Land at the time of the crusades by a member of an old Galway family and that it is a relic of the crucifixion.
The Fuile an Rí which was last seen around one hundred years ago in Ballindine in County Mayo, is now believed to have turned up again in Headford in County Galway. However, it has yet to be authenticated. The relic is now in the possession of local estate agent Kevin Duffy.
If it's genuine, which I take it to be, obviously this can be documented and proved by some experts, I think it should be in the National Museum. It's one of the four famous missing relics from Cong and here has come to light.
Kevin Duffy was given a loan of the relic by a family who came to live in Headford but emigrated back to South Africa. They had acquired it from the man's mother who worked as a housekeeper for some landed gentry in the Tuam area. One of the responsibilities given to the housekeeper was to allow the locals to touch the relic every Saturday morning. When the family left the area or died out, the housekeeper handed the relic over to her son who subsequently gave it to Mr Duffy.
If it's the famous Fuile an Rí that's been written about by various people, I think it should be in the National Museum.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 14 June 1983. The reporter is Jim Fahy.