The Feast of Corpus Christi was traditionally celebrated in Cardonagh by a grand procession, as it was in many towns throughout the country.
The Blessed Sacrament was carried by the clergy, who walked under a specially embroidered canopy, often borne by lay people, escorted by members of the defence forces. Young girls felt honoured to become flower-strewers, whose role it was to strew flower petals on the ground at the head of the procession, walking backwards to do so, dressed in their Holy Communion dresses.
The Cardonagh Brass Band accompanied the followers as they sang hymns on their way through the town. Girls guides, school children and other members of the local community formed the procession, with members of the Children of Mary dressed in their outfit of blue cloak and white veil.
The town was decorated with bunting for the occasion. Shops and businesses dressed their windows with little altars, adorned with flowers, holy pictures and holy statues.
At the main altar, the faithful would kneel in the street for the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. There were two altar sites in Carn. The first was the Market House in the Diamond. Following the demolition of the Market House, the altar was moved to the Arch.
The tradition of the Corpus Christi Procession eventually died out in Carndonagh, with the last procession taking place in the 1990s.
In this photo, we see the clergy leading the procession, followed by flower-strewers (young girls in Holy Communion dresses who threw flower petals on the ground in front of the procession), altar boys and the army, who escorted the Blessed Sacrament and the priests on their route through the town.
In this photo from the early 1950s, we can see the Corpus Christi procession as it turns down Bridge Street from the Diamond, with the young girls in their Holy Communion outfits strewing flower petals in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and members of the Army escorting the clergy.
Flower-strewers throw petals at the feet of the priest carrying the Blessed Sacrament through the town, with lay people holding the canopy, escorted by the army, and members of the local community following behind.
The Carndonagh Brass Band turned out for the Corpus Christi procession, playing hymns as they made their way through the town. Here we can see a number of the junior members passing Marner's shop in 1967, with a group of Girl Guides in uniform behind them. Members of the public can be seen on the pavement. Who can you recognise?
Onlookers watch the procession from the old Diamond.
The Corpus Christ altar at the Market House in the Diamond, Carndonagh, late 1940s.
Families gathered for photographs in their Sunday best at the altar, located at the Market House in the Diamond, in the late 1940s.
Young children, along with what appear to be Children of Mary, following the Corpus Christi procession in the late 1940s.
In this image we can see the followers, including members of the Children of Mary, schoolchildren, and members of the local community, kneeling in the Diamond for the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in front of the altar at the Market House, 1940s.
Children waiting at the edge of the Diamond, with adults gathered on pavement, waiting for the Corpus Christi Procession through Carndonagh in 1954.
Members of the local community awaiting the Corpus Christi procession in 1954.
The Carndonagh Brass Band, members of the army, Children of Mary, and clergy at the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at the Market House altar, late 1940s.
Here we can see how local businesses decorated shop windows for the procession, with the clergy escorted by the army (Gabriel Duffy Collection).
After the Market House was demolished, the altar moved to the arch.
The Corpus Christi procession became less popular as the years went by. Bunting was still brought out, but the army and flower-strewers are absent, and the crowds diminished in size.
The numbers of attendees dwindled over the years. Can you recognise any of the followers in this image?
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Recalls a time of public displays of faith
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