THE HAIL Mary has been named as Ireland’s favourite prayer.
It was voted Ireland’s top religious imploration as part of a poll held at the National Ploughing Championships in Co Carlow, RTE reports.
The vote was conducted by the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin with members of the public attending the championships invited to choose from a shortlist of popular prayers.
Held at a stand built around the theme of “Digging Deeper – Rooting For Christ”, the Hail Mary was the runaway winner with 61% of the overall vote.
Only OO Angel of God (the Guardian Angel Prayer) came remotely close to competing for top spot, having received 39% of votes.
A traditional Catholic prayer, the Hail Mary asks for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
It forms the basis of the Rosary and Angelus prayers in Roman Catholicism.
Largely based on two phrases taken from the Gospel of Luke, the prayer takes different forms in various traditions of the Christian faith and has often been set to music.
Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, who conducted the prayer poll admitted he was "overwhelmed" by the response to the competition.
The Catholic version of the prayer reads as follows:
Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.
Holy Mary Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death