But the powers of the priest of old were much greater than that, as Blind Jimmy McCreesh cud tell ye!
Jimmy lived in Dorsey, near Cullyhanna. There was a great wedding one time in Cullyhanna chapel and though weddings are occasions of celebration everywhere, they’re more so in rural parts where everyone knows everyone else.
May Quinn who was the organist had the ladies’ choir up in the gallery when the bride arrived on the arm of her father.
There’s none more keen to get every detail and see all first, before the rest, than the maiden aunt. Maggie Fearon in the front row of the choir was the bride’s aunt.
She craned her neck and leaned away out to see the bride entering below her. Unfortunately she leaned too far and fell over the short wooden rail.
Now I should tell you that like most Catholic churches, the walls of Cullyhanna chapel have the Stations of the Cross mounted high on three sides. Each sculpted scene is topped with a little roof, a wooden canopy, and it in turn with a large carved cross.
It was Maggie’s great good fortune that on her way down, one of her stocking suspenders got caught in this cross. She was left swinging upside down above the congregation.
Ah, the mortification!
And she showing everything!
The whole lot was on display!
From his vantage point on the altar, Father Murray quickly intervened.
‘STOP.’ He ordered.
‘Every man in this church face me, right now!
I forbid you to look at that poor woman in her distress!’
Now, easier said nor done!
But the priest went on,
‘If any man here tries to look at that woman’s direction,
I’ll strack him blind, on the spot!‘
Jimmy McCreesh was on the horns of a dilemma.
A chance like this might never come again in his lifetime.
On the other hand, he didn’t want to end up blind!
He decided on a compromise.
He’d cover his left eye with his hand and peep up with his right eye.
And that’s the reason he was ever after known as Blind Jimmy McCreesh.
He wasn’t entirely blind, you understand,
just in his right eye!