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Coolagh Mass Rock  (Crestwood)

Coolough 365 People and Place Committee

The following poem was written by Irene Hayes of Coolough 365 People and Place Committee to celebrate the discovery of the Mass Rock and to remember all those who worshipped there.

The title of this poem alludes to the Irish love song: An Raibh Tú ag an gCarraig? / Were you at the Rock? / Were you at the Mass?

 Crestwood Mass Rock: An Raibh Tú ag an gCarraig?

I was there…... the day the sun shone brightly beneath a sky-blue sky

Gazed in awe at pink felspar sparkling on dark- grey granite

A joyful mystery dancing in the mid-day sun.


I was there…... 400 million years ago, forged deep within the earth’s belly; birthed red-hot fiery lava and send it roaring and soaring into a sky-blue sky.

I’m not a native to this townland. I may have been dropped by the ice 20,000 years ago or carried here by Galway men.                   

A quarry man drove his pick deep into my side and I cried out for the terrible times to pass.  

I was there…... during the dark years when Fr Burke came from the Claddagh to celebrate mass beneath a sky-blue sky.

Blood was spilled and bread broken at my table. To offer hope and nourishment to a people who had little reason to hope……. Children gather around and were schooled, marriages blessed, babies baptized and sins forgiven.

Today, I stand as a testament to a proud and resilient people whose faith sustained them in the most desperate of times.


Beneath sky-blue skies and moonlit nights rests the Crestwood Mass Rock

by day children laugh and play here

by night lovers sit and kiss.

Irene Hynes 

Footnote: An Raibh Tú ag an gCarraig? Was a coded Irish love song from the Penal Times. If the song was translated into English an enemy spy would not understand its hidden message i.e. is it safe to go to mass/rock? This beautiful song is still sung today and also can be heard on You Tube: An Raibh Tú ag an gCarraig? (were you at the Rock)


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