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Shehy Beg

Mass Rock Sites of:

County CORK

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Gortnahoughtee Mass Rock




Whilst situated on private farmland, this site is fully visible from the roadside and is located in the parish of Uibh Laoire. The Mass Rock consists of a huge outcrop of rock that resembles the shape of a chapel. It is known locally as ‘Carraig an tSeipeil’ meaning ‘chapel rock’ or ‘rock of the chapel’. A wind break had been constructed at the site, probably to shelter the priest and his congregation in Penal times.


Co-ordinates: 51° 48’ 6.9’’ N  -9° 9’ 40.6’’ W

The altar is composed of a long narrow natural shelf which runs the length of the Mass Rock. It is possible that a dressed stone, to the west of the Mass Rock, was used atop the ledge as an altar stone. This measured 1.8m in length and was flat topped.


Ardrah Mass Rock




The Ardrah Mass Rock is situated within undulating pasture in the Mealagh Valley in the Parish of Drimoleague. It forms part of the Mealagh Valley Walk described within A guide to the Sheep Head Way Eastern Routes which incorporates Drimoleague Heritage Walkways.


If approaching from Breeny Beg the Mass Rock is situated beside the edge of the road in a private field to the left and can be easily viewed from the gate. At an elevation of 136m above sea level, in undulating pasture, the views of the surrounding area are excellent.


Co-ordinates: 51° 43’ 51.26’’ N   -9° 20’ 26.96’’ W

Shehy Beg

Shehy Beg Mass Rock




The Shehy Beg Mass Rock is located in the parish of Uibh Laoire and consists of a meter high stone altar which sits on top of a level outcrop of rock and measures 2.38m E-W; 2.35 N-S.


Situated in the Shehy Beg Mountain range at an elevation of 417m, it is found in close proximity to the old Cork Butter Path. My sincere thanks to local Archaeologist Tony Miller for his help in finding this site.


Toormore Mass Rock


This is an example of an earlier archaeological monument being used as a Mass Rock. The wedge tomb is situated on the coast at Toormore Strand in the parish of Schull and is easily accessible.



Co-ordinates: 51° 30’ 49.54’’ N  -9° 38’ 38.36’’ W

Fermoyle Mass Rock


It is possible to access this site from the road but the route is a precarious one as it is very steeply inclines in places and heavily overgrown. The entrance to the site is marked by a concrete wall and gate posts and there is just enough space to pull in off the road and park a car. The entrance gates lead to Ath an Tobair or Ford of the Well – a small bridge that crosses over the River Fermoyle and provides access to a winding path along the river and up the hill towards the well. 

McCarthy (1991) states that ‘Mass was said near a well at Fermoyle, giving it the name Sunday’s Well. The large stone, which served as an altar, was still there in 1838. According to local lore, there was a large canopy over the priest’s head during Mass to protect him from the weather’ Mccarthy (1991:88).

The Mass Rock altar is still present and is situated approximately 2m north of the well. It consists of a flat stone (1.5m x 0.8m; H 0.65m) supported by smaller slabs.

Well Co-ordinates:  52º 05’ 44.02"N  -8º 53’ 10.47”W

Ford Co-ordinates for parking : 52º 05’ 49.56”N  -8º 52’ 52.21”W

Longueville Mass Rock




McCarthy (1991) states that ‘there is a field in Col. Longfield’s (now O’Callaghan’s) farm a dallan 3’4’’ x 19’7’’. Slightly to the east is another stone lying flat on the ground and practically covered. An old whitethorn tree grows between the two. Tradition says that Mass was celebrated on the larger of the two in Penal Times’ McCarthy (1991:88).


This site consists of two natural rocks. The largest rock measures approximately 2m in length, 1.5m wide and almost 1m in height.

Mass Rock Sites beyond the Irish Borders

Slide show

Mass Rock


Ardura Beg

Just north of this larger rock is a smaller rock that measures  1m in length, 1m wide and just 0.2m in height). The landowner advised that the field was locally known as ‘the grey stone field’ and mentioned that the water that collects in the hollows of the stone is believed to cure warts. The whitethorn tree is no longer growing between the rocks.

Ardura Beg

Ardura Beg Mass Rock Site




This large geological feature now forms part of a garden boundary of a modern dwelling in the parish of Aughadown. Located in an undulating valley setting, the site affords excellent views of Roaringwater Bay. It would possibly have originally sat adjacent to a Bóthrín as the modern day road is small and winding with fields on either side.


The rock face is almost 5m high and is heavily overgrown with shrubbery. A shelf on the south face of the rock was probably used as the altar.

Loughane East
Loughane East

Loughane East Mass Rock Site




The Mass Rock is situated on a south facing site just above the main road on a small track off Loughane East. A tributary leading to the River Shournagh (Sweet River) flows behind the site.


The contours of the main road below follow the contours of the land, meandering through a wooded valley.


Co-ordinates: 51° 56’ 32.46’’ N  -8° 36’ 41.01’’ W

The Mass Rock is part of a large natural rock outcrop into which 3 steps have been carved that lead to the altar.

A local resident advised that Mass was last said at the Mass Rock in the late 1980's having been arranged by the Blarney Historical Society.  There is a large oak tree at the western edge of the rock.


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