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Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory

Visit Carlow Museum’s St Willibrord Exhibition

Exhibition: “St. Willibrord, Patron Saint of Luxembourg

and his County Carlow Connection”

 Dermot Mulligan from Carlow County Museum tells us about this Exhibition and thanks all those involved in the St Willibrord events this summer:

“Carlow County Museum, located in the heart of Carlow town, has opened a free yearlong exhibition about St. Willibrord, his time in Carlow, his mission, his present-day impact and the UNESCO World Heritage Status ‘hopping procession’.

St Willibrord, Patron Saint of Luxembourg, is one of the most important Saints in Europe.

Through the mists of time his county Carlow connection had been virtually forgotten but during June 2017 this 7th century connection was celebrated with a series of events in both county Carlow and Echternach, Luxembourg. Among the many events was a joint ecumenical diocesan pilgrimage of nearly sixty people from Carlow to Echternach led by the Right Reverend Michael Burrows, Bishop of Cashel, Waterford, Lismore, Ferns, Ossory and Leighlin and the Most Reverend Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. The pilgrimage partook in the UNESCO World Heritage Status annual ‘hopping procession’ in honour of St. Willibrord in Echternach and accepted a ‘Relic of St. Willibrord’ that is a gift from the people of Echternach to say, ‘thank you’ to county Carlow for training and ordaining Willibrord.

The Museum, who coordinated the Willibrord project from the Carlow side, is operated by Carlow County Council in partnership with the Carlow Historical & Archaeological Society, is open all year round on College Street, Carlow town and has free admission. Guided tours for groups of ten or more can be arranged and school tours are welcome.

Among the items on display in this special exhibition is:

  • A copy of Willibrord’s own hand writing, the oldest datable signature of an English person, written in a book that was originally written in county Carlow.
  • How to make a manuscript. From slate and wax tablets to vellum, just how was a beautiful manuscript made and how did they make the colours!
  • View samples of the beautiful manuscripts that were produced in Echternach.
  • See the Hopping Procession known as the ‘People Who Pray With Their Feet’.

The ‘Relic of St. Willibrord’ is on permanent display in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow town, next door to the Museum.

A big thank you to the ‘St. Willibrord Carlow Committee’: Right Reverend Michael Burrows, Bishop of Cashel, Waterford, Lismore, Ferns, Ossory and Leighlin; Fr. John Cummins, Administrator of the Cathedral Parish, Carlow town; Louise Doyle, Tully’s Travel; Pat Delaney, Head of Finance, Information Systems and Culture Carlow County Council; The Very Revd. Tom Gordon, Dean of St. Laserian’s Cathedral, Old Leighlin; Dermot Mulligan, Museum Curator, Carlow County Museum; Most Reverend Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin; Professor Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Department of History, NUI Galway and Joe Tully, Tully’s Travel. Thanks to Rev. David White and the community of St. Mary’s Church of Ireland, Carlow town who welcomed the Relic on its journey to the Cathedral of the Assumption. Thanks to Mr. Bryan Rose of the Anglican community in Luxembourg city who made us all feel very welcome during our pilgrimage.

The project has been shortlisted in the Chambers Ireland ‘Excellence in Local Government Awards 2017’.

The recently broadcast KCLR96FM radio documentary ‘Carlow Hops to Luxembourg’ is available to listen back to at: