Mary and Jimmy Mulligan erected a statue of the Blessed Virgin on their land in June
1956 at the request of Canon Maguire. The Statue came from Belgium to Dublin Port.
Frank and John Mullen with Peter McCluskey collected it and took it home. However
this was part of the story as they all went to Cork first to collect a new lorry
for Frank and then came home through Dublin. It did take three days as many stops
for refreshments were made along the way.
The Hill on Mulligan’s farm was an ideal location because of its elevated position
in an easily accessible area. Its proximity to St. Joseph’s Church at Knockatallon
enabled procession and prayer events to take place in May and other feast days.
Many volunteers were involved in the erection of the statue and these included Louis
Moyna; Jimmy McKenna (Shan); Benny Maguire; Jim, Frank and John Mullen. The base
for the statue was cut from stone by James McElwain (Thomas) Smithborough; Jimmy
McGuinness and Eugene Murray erected the gates and the prayer plaque at the road
and in 1960 Lalla Mullen wrote a beautiful ballad in honour of our Lady – ‘The Statue
on Mulligans Hill’, for which she won a prize at the Tydavnet Show that year.
Over the years many passers-by stopped and said a silent prayer, many came purposely
to the site to ask a favour of Our Lady, and Canon Maguire organised many processions
and novenas. However in June 2011 a committee was formed to restore and preserve
the Statue. Various events were organised to raise funds, which were complemented
by generous donations. Work began in August 2011. The Statue was repainted, a circular
stone surround was built,( the stone used came from McCluskey’s old house at Barratitoppy
and Mulligan’s of Knocknageehan), paving was replaced and new gates and path and
fence erected at the road. Lights have now been fitted to light up the statue at
night and the Novena Prayer has been beautifully inscribed on a marble slab and placed
on a stand at the roadside.
Volunteers included: Benny Maguire; Niall McKenna; Eddie Beggan; Gerry Kelly; Maurice
and Christopher McCarey; John and Hugh Moyna; Enda Treanor; Kevin Deery; Alexis Rooney;
Shane Connolly; Sean, Francis and Paul Mullen; and stone work by Rom Mulligan from
The committee of Benny Maguire; Collette and Nicola Johnston; Mary Keenan; Bernadette
Boyle; Mena Mulligan; Hugh Moyna; Mary Lynskey; Mary Mallon; Margaret Cannon; Peggy
Rafferty; Kathleen Murray; Mary Connolly; Lillian McQuaid; Felix Gunne; Angela and
Francis Mullen; Mary and Sean Mullen; Patrick Stevely and Denis Meehan express their
thanks to all who supported the project and to the volunteers and helpers. On Celebration
Day on May 31st 2012 Fr. Earley celebrated a Mass, concelebrated by Fr. Cathal Deery,
at the Statue and a huge crowd attended. Canon Maguire introduced the Statue of Our
Lady to encourage prayer to Our Lady. It is hoped that this tradition will be renewed
and strengthened and continue for many years to come.