On July 16th each year hundreds in their own currachs, boats and canoes or ferried there by local fishermen, make a pilgrimage off the coast of Carna to the tiny, uninhabited St. MacDara's Island to celebrate Féile Mhic Dara (Macdara Festival)
The island is said to have once been home to Sinach Mac Dara, patron saint of the parish of Moyrus. He is also the patron saint of local fishermen and sailors and all on stormy seas and it is an old tradition to dip your sails three times when passing by the island. Macdara is also apparently the patron Saint of New Potatoes which are in Season in July.
There is a mass and blessing of boats. After the mass its a picnic followed by the Regatta for the Galway Hookers and Currach rowing races and then back to Carna for a Céilidh and music.
It is said that St. MacDara’s Island Monastery is one of the best examples of an early Christian Oratory in Ireland. It is likely the Monastery founded by Macdara in the 6th century was made of wood. The current stone church was built around the 10th century and modelled exactly on the previous wooden structure.
The Monastery was restored in 1975 and was featured on the Irish 28p postage stamp in the 1980's as part of the Irish Architecture Definitives series.
Lá Fhéile Mhic Dara shona duit.
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