The small Wexford village of Taghmon attracted national media coverage in 1971 when three young boys reported seeing an apparition of the Virgin Mary while playing in a local disused cemetery. 

Eric Fenlon, Gerald O’Sullivan, and Con Quigley reported seeing a woman in blue while they were playing at the cattle mart that bordered a disused cemetery in the village. However, two other children who were playing with them at the time said they saw nothing. 

The three boys said the apparition lasted roughly two minutes, stating that they saw a six-foot woman wearing a blue dress and a white shawl while the graveyard was lit up with rays of light. 

The boys were convinced that what they saw was real and did not believe someone was playing a trick on them. 

The Wexford apparition was featured in the May 5, 1971 episode of RTÉ's Newsbeat.

O’Sullivan told reporters that he was fearful to tell his mother about what he had seen, adding that he was also afraid that people wouldn't believe him. 

Local reaction to the reported sighting was non-committal, with most people agreeing that the boys saw something and were not pulling a prank. 

"Few will risk saying it wasn’t an apparition or wasn’t the Blessed Virgin just in case it happens again. It’s one thing to argue with three local families, it’s quite another to lose favor with the Lord," an RTÉ journalist said at the time. 

Local clergy did not give any immediate comment on the sighting and their silence caused the story to gain more credence locally. 

Reverend Professor Feichin O’Doherty, Head of the Department of Psychology at University College Dublin, said he wished local clergy officials had given a statement about the reported apparition from the outset. 

"Wherever action has been taken quickly enough or finally enough, there has been no further problem," O'Doherty said in a statement at the time. 

There have been a number of reported apparitions in Ireland, including in Kerrytown in Co Donegal in 1939, Ardboe in Co Tyrone in 1954, Ballinspittle in Co Cork in 1985, Carns Grotto in Co Sligo in 1985, Melleray Grotto in Co Waterford in 1985, Bessbrook in Co Armagh in 1987.

However, perhaps the most famous of apparitions in Ireland was in Knock in Co Mayo in 1879. The site has since become a shrine to devout Catholics.

Knock Shrine Basilica in Co Mayo. (Getty Images)

Knock Shrine Basilica in Co Mayo. (Getty Images)

*Originally published in February 2023. Updated in May 2023.