Three boys say the Blessed Virgin appeared to them at a cemetery in the village of Taghmon, County Wexford.

The three boys Eric Fenlon, Gerald O'Sullivan and Con Quigley reported seeing an apparition of the Virgin Mary at the village of Taghmon in County Wexford.

The apparition, a woman in blue, appeared while they were playing at the cattle mart bordering a disused cemetery on the outskirts of the village. Two other children playing with them at the same spot saw nothing.

Local reaction to the alleged apparition is non-committal. Most people agree that the children saw something and they do not believe the boys are playing a prank.

Few will risk saying it wasn't an apparition, or wasn’t the Blessed Virgin just in case it happens again. It’s one thing to argue with three local families, it’s quite another to lose favour with the Lord.

The clergy of the area have not given any comment on the matter and because of this silence, the story of the apparition has gained credence locally.

The boys revisit the graveyard and recount seeing bright rays of light and a six foot woman wearing a long blue dress with a white shawl. They are convinced what they saw was real and not somebody playing a trick on them.

Gerald O'Sullivan was somewhat fearful to tell his mother what he saw and he was also afraid,

That people mightn’t believe me.

Head of the Department of Psychology at University College Dublin, Reverend Professor Feichin O'Doherty wishes the church officials in the Diocese of Ferns had given a statement about the alleged apparition in Taghmon from the outset,

Wherever action has been taken quickly enough or finally enough, there has been no further problem.

Feichin O'Doherty states no importance should be given to any apparitions, the sighting at Lourdes being the exception. While apparitions have been fairly common within his lifetime, none have been authenticated.

He is quite sure those people claiming to have seen apparitions are not lying, but what they claim to have seen can be explained. In older age groups it is possibly a manifestation of an emotional disturbance. In younger ages groups, it is simply a case of their inability to distinguish between reality and imagery.

This episode of 'Newsbeat’ was broadcast on 5 May 1971. The reporter is Michael Ryan.