The only church on Ireland’s Tory Island, a tiny patch of land situated off the coast of Co. Donegal, is searching for a new parish priest.
Tory, which is home to about 150 people, was served by Fr Kieran Creagh for four years – even though he intended to visit for just a few days.
He threw himself into the lifestyle practised on the island, such as taking the time to learn Irish; the main language spoken in Tory.
“We loved him very much; he was a powerful priest for special feast days. He loved the island very much, the quietness and what have you,” said Patsy Dan Rodgers, the king of Tory Island.
“He settled in like a native and we loved the way he went to learn some Gaelic as well.”
Patsy Dan was nominated to ‘rule’ the island by the local community and he acts as its spokesman to the outside world.
He explained how Christianity has well-established roots in Tory – there are remnants of a sixth century monastery founded by St Columba there – and how it plays an important role in defining its character.
“There is a strong religion on the island and a strong language and culture on the island and I’m very hopeful that will continue.
“One never knows, but the times bring us lots of different things,” he said.
A number of priests will operate the parish on a rota system until a permanent replacement is found.