STUNNED devotees have flocked to an antique shop to pray beside a cabinet that appears to resemble a figure of the Virgin Mary, with the owner saying the pilgrims have been kissing and rubbing the piece of furniture.
Vintage Vendors in Tralee, Co Kerry have been offered over €10,000 for a cabinet which appears to have an outline of Mary, Mother of Jesus on the door.
Damien Culhane, who works with owner Tom O'Connell in the shop, purchased the cabinet almost a year ago after spotting it on Irish online marketplace, DoneDeal.
Mr Culhane didn't spot the sacred figure on the door until a customer pointed it out 11 months later.
"It was built in about 1905 or 1910 in Hereford, England by Greenlands and Co that I purchased this year in Kerry. I saw a DoneDeal post and I didn’t even notice from the picture at the time that there was anything special about it. I just thought it was a nice cabinet that would be suitable for a section of the shop to display things," Mr Culhane told Independent.ie.
"When I bought it, 11 months ago I didn’t see it. I wanted to have it in my parents' house and they didn’t have room. I dropped it down here to Tom in Vintage Vendors, took the door off it, stuck it in a wardrobe at the back of the shop and filled the actual drawers behind the door with vinyl records and it’s been displaying records and bits of china for the last 11 months."
He continued: “We had the door in the wardrobe, and someone came in to view the wardrobe and bought it. We took the door out and put it back on the cabinet, and there was a statue on top at that stage of the Lady of Lourdes.
“A woman came in and she commented, ‘Oh my god, that’s Our Lady.” She couldn’t get over it, and then I looked at it and I could kind of see it. I took the door off and held it up the other way and it looks even better upside down.
Locals have since been dropping in to kiss, rub and say a prayer next to the cabinet. Customers have eagerly been biding on the seemingly holy find, but Mr Culhane said the shop have no plans to sell the find yet.
“There’s people in that were kissing the cabinet, rubbing the cabinet, saying prayers and just taking pictures with the cabinet. People wanted to buy a picture of the cabinet that we have up in the shop and we couldn’t sell it to them and they want to come back and buy it," he said.
“When you look at the piece of toast that went a few years ago with the Virgin Mary on it, it went for $28,000.
“We’ve had several offers on the cabinet itself. We’re not selling it, but they’re quite high, over €10,000 - it’s gone way above that," he added.