An exhibition opened at the National Gallery in Dublin this week that focuses on the life of St Dympna. Dympna, a legendry 6th or 7th century saint, was born and reared in Tydavnet but a difficult relationship with her father led her to settle down in Geal in Belgium.
Her support of people with mental illness has become synonymous with Gael and a twinning programme now exists between the Belgium town and Monaghan. Cllr Sean Conlon says a lot of work has gone into the exhibition by various committees in Co Monaghan.
He added that it was St Dympna's upbringing in Tydavnet that influenced the young woman to dedicate her life to working with the mentally ill. "Dympna had difficult experiences as a teenager and young woman. Despite those negative experiences she transformed her life and dedicated it to helping people with illness.
"And as her legacy developed it was more specifically around mental illness. We see around Monaghan town, for example, St Davnet's Campus - that received its name many years ago in honour of her legacy as did St Dympna's Chapel in Tydavnet. She was also hugely influential in parishes across Ireland and indeed across the globe," Cllr Conlon said.