A church in Co Galway is marking the start of Lent with a novel approach to Ash Wednesday.

Parishioners at St Patrick's Church in Glenamaddy can receive the traditional ashes at this evening's 7pm mass, but for those who cannot attend, a "drive-thru" service was held on the church grounds this morning.

The idea came about following discussions by the Glenamaddy Pastoral Council - a group of parishioners supporting the work of local priest Fr Paddy Mooney.

As part of the preparations for the season of Lent, the council looked at ways to help people to mark Ash Wednesday, the day when the build-up to Easter begins in the Christian calendar.


They came up with what is effectively a one-stop shop for people to begin their Lenten devotions.

Since the "drive-thru" opened at 8am, a steady flow of cars has made its way up to the door of the church.

There, drivers are greeted by Fr Mooney, who dispenses the ashes and gives a blessing.

The whole process takes around 30 seconds.

Ash Wednesday 'drive-thru' at Glenamaddy
A queue forms at Glenamaddy church's 'drive-thru'

A number of local volunteers are on hand to guide motorists and when a queue builds up at the church door, others dispense the ashes to ensure there is no traffic build up.