Maureen pens new publication on the legacy of Saint Donard

Maureen pens new publication on the legacy of Saint Donard

17 February 2021

AT the age of 89, Maureen Donnelly shows no intention of putting down her pen.

The author of seven books has just published a fascinating booklet about an Irish saint who gave his name to the highest mountain in Northern Ireland.

Who was Saint Donard and What is his Legacy? tells the story of Donard, a fifth century Irish chieftain who is believed to have been converted to Christianity by none other than St Patrick himself.

Mrs Donnelly reveals that St Donard’s legacy is all around us — not just in Slieve Donard which she can see every day from her home in Clough. He is also believed to be connected to an early Christian site in Maghera and the Church of Ireland church in Dundrum is named after him.

He is reputed to have lived in a cairn at the top of Slieve Donard and for many years after his death in 507 pilgrims climbed to the top of the mountain to honour his name.

Mrs Donnelly believes that Slieve Donard is special. “It is a holy mountain, a place for restoring the soul,” she says.

A teacher, lecturer and broadcaster, Mrs Donnelly has been fascinating with Irish history throughout her life.

Her most famous book is The Nine Glens, which was a personal look at the history, folklore and poetry of the nine glens of Antrim. Born and raised in Antrim, she roamed the glens as a child.

Mrs Donnelly also has a deep love of Co Down, in particular Downpatrick and Lecale. Her late husband, the Rev Jim Donnelly, was the rector of Saul and Lecale parishes.

She says there is a wealth of history right on our doorstep. “All around us is a treasure house. There is so much to see and appreciate.”