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At a meeting of the Diocesan Committee of St. Joseph’s Young Priests Society some months ago, a discussion was held concerning the Millennium celebrations for the society and as part of these celebrations the Diocesan Committee organised a trip to Ballintubber Abbey, the Celtic Furrow and Foxford Woollen Mills. The trip took place on Saturday, June 12th. A group from Claregalway represented the Claregalway branch. The bus collected us in Claregalway at 10am and our first stop was at the Foxford Woollen Mills. We had lots of time to browse around the shop and buy anything we wanted.

We then had a tour of the Visitor Centre where we learned the history of the mills, from the time it was established to the present time. A nun, who persevered and struggled against all the odds to make it a viable concern, founded it. She left no stone unturned when looking for finance and her determination to get the mill up and running was immeasurable. After lunching in Foxford we continued our journey to Ballintubber Abbey. We were met by Fr Fahy who gave us some of the history of the Abbey, going back to Penal times. His stories were intriguing and almost incredible. Although the Abbey had been burned down twice and left without a roof, the people of the area joined together and worked to reopen it again. It has remained open since. Pilgrims still walk to Croagh Patrick from the Abbey, which is 22 miles cross country.

After our guided tour with Fr Fahy, Fr Vivian Loughrey, who accompanied us on the trip, celebrated Mass in the Abbey. After Mass we went to the Celtic Furrow. This was a very interesting place to visit. The guides took us back to early Christianity and gave us a great insight into ancient times. Some people, who shall remain nameless, found the Caileach very amusing. It was lovely to be reminded of the stories told to us by our parents in our childhood about Jesus, Mary and Joseph, some of which had faded from our memories with the passage of time. We arrived back in Claregalway around 8pm having had a lovely day out.

The Claregalway branch of the Society had its Annual general Meeting in June, and the following officers were elected:

President Marie Dempsey
Secretary Sarah McCallen
Treasurer Michael Small

The Society meet on the second Friday of each month in the SMA House at 8pm. New members are always welcome. Next meeting will take place in September.