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Visitors to Slemish treated to a play about the early life of St Patrick

Patrick Connor and Fergus Boyle as Patrick and the chieftan Milchu on Slemish mountain
Marie Louise McConville

VISITORS who ventured to Slemish Mountain for the annual St Patrick's Day climb yesterday were treated to a bit of added drama with a play performed on the slopes.

Although open all year round, the Slemish climb on March 17 draws around 3,000 pilgrims annually.

Yesterday those taking part were able to take a break and watch a play about St Patrick's on the very mountain slopes where he is understood have to been compelled to become a cleric, before later returning to Ireland to spread Christianity.

Groups affiliated with Broughshane and District Community Association collaborated with BAFTA nominated writer, Don McCamphill, who scripted and directed the 15 minute play, which was also streamed to a global audience.

Although exact details of Patrick's life are uncertain, he is broadly believed to have been taken to Ireland as a slave when he was aged 16 and herded sheep on Slemish.

After six years, Patrick escaped to France but later returned after he had a dream in which he heard the people of Ireland calling him to come back with his Christian message.

In the play, the role of St Patrick was played by 17-year-old Patrick Connor, who lives on the foothills of Slemish.

A support cast of around 20 people also took part, acting as slaves and chieftans.

Sandy Wilson, vice-chairman of Broughshane and District Community Association, said putting on the drama was evidence of the village's commitment to developing tourism and growing the economy in the area.

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