Man Mountain

A JUDGE in Ireland has issued an unusually ‘high’ punishment to a man who abused a policeman in County Donegal.

Joseph McElwee, 38, of Aughavennan, Rathmullan was ordered to climb Ireland’s holiest mountain at Milford District Court recently.

The court heard that McElwee had hurled a tirade of foul language at two officers outside a pub and told one member of the Garda to “go back to Mayo”.

Judge Seamus Hughes asked him if he had ever climbed Croagh Patrick in the officer’s native County Mayo.

He said: “I want you to come back in a month’s time with evidence that you did the four stations of Croagh Patrick, and say a few prayers.

“You then might have a different impression of County Mayo and its people, and it will be in recognition to your fellow Irish people especially those in the line of duty.”

McElwee’s solicitor told the court that drink was to blame for his client’s actions and that he had personally apologised to the officer in question.

He added that although the public gallery was finding the pilgrimage remarks funny he wanted to assure the judge his client was taking it seriously and wanted to know how McElwee would be able to prove he had climbed Croagh Patrick.

McElwee is due to appear in court again next month, and the judge warned he would have questions prepared: “You better have the answers, and I will know whether you are telling the truth or not,” he said.

Thousands of pilgrims visit Croagh Patrick every year. Credit: BBC