By Tom Kennedy from Ballylongford
Lislaughtin Friary in Ballylongford was founded by John O’Connor of the Kerry O’Connor clan in 1470 on a site believed to have been associated with Saint Lachtain over 800 years beforehand. The friary amed in his honour. Lislaughtin means the fort of St.Laughtin.
In 1477, Pope Sixtus IV licensed it as a religious house and the friary was completed and its church consecrated in 1478. The Friary was attacked in 1580 by the troops of Queen Elizabeth I and three elderly friars who could not flee were slaughtered before the high altar. The Franciscans returned back to Lislaughtin in 1629 and remained here until Cromwellian troops caused destruction in 1652. However the friars provided pastoral care in the area up until 1860.
Saint Lachtain is the patron Saint of Ballylongford. Locals celebrate his feast day every year on the 19th of March. He died on the 19th of March 622 AD. So this year is rather significant 1400 years after his death.
There will be a procession by locals all are welcome (As Lislaughtin is famous for the processional cross now in the national museum in Dublin) on Saturday the 19th from outside the church gates at 2pm in Ballylongford village and we will Cross the bridge on our way to the to Lislaughtin friary, just under a 2 kilometer walk. It should be arriving at the friary for about 2:30pm approximately.
A Franciscan friar will be at Lislaughtin Friary at where he will speak and say prayers. In what must be the first time a friar was at Lislaughtin in an ecumenical setting in over 150 years. Padraig O’ Conchuir (author of many history books) will give a tour/speech about the history of the friary after the rosary and prayers. Dr. Declan Downey a history lecturer from UCD will also be present to share his knowledge. Refreshments afterwards at the parish hall.