Mass Rock Sites of:

County CORK

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Ballingeary Mass Rock Site

 

SITUATED ON PRIVATE LAND

 

Situated on private land at an elevation of 344m, up in the mountains of Uibh Laoire, this Mass Rock is very difficult to access. Known as Cum an tSagairt or the Hollow of the Priest, it consists of a large irregularly shaped sandstone boulder. It has been particularly well weathered and its geological make up appears different to other rocks in the vicinity.

 

The Mass Rock is shaped like the prow of a ship and measures 2.3m in length. Its height ranges from 0.65m to 1.55m and the boulder is orientated on a NE-SW axis.

 

There is a large natural hollow on either side of the Mass Rock and it is believed that the priest used to to place the candles in these hollows during Mass. A modern day cross has now been erected on top of the monument by the landowner.

Derrynafinchin Mass Rock Site

 

 

This is an example of an earlier archaeological monument being used as a Mass Rock. The stone circle is located in the Borlin Valley within the present day parish of Bantry and is easily accessible.

 

There do not appear to be any markings on the monument, such as an incised cross, to indicate its subsequent use as a Mass Rock.

 

Co-ordinates: 51° 48’ 15.30’’ N  -9° 22’ 53.80’’ W

The Mass Rock altar does not appear to be contemporary with the stone circle. This can be deduced from the fact that one of the upright stones has collapsed at some point. It has subsequently been used to support the altar slab together with other stones. Additionally, the altar slab appears to have been specifically contoured to fit the upright axial stone on the south side.

Cullomane West Mass Rock Site

 

SITUATED ON PRIVATE LAND

 

This irregular stone boulder sits in pastureland at an elevation of 161m above sea level. The site commands spectacular views across the countryside and is masked from sight below by a rectangular loose stone wall.

 

The Mass Rock has a piece cut out on the north-east side where the priest was said to have placed his book. The landowner believed that the chalice was still buried somewhere within the vicinity of the Mass Rock. 

Mass has not been said at the site in recent times although it was visited annually for many years by a nun who lived locally when she returned home for the summer months. The landowner believed that a Mass Rock in the opposite field had been removed by the owner of the field.

Lady's Well Mass Rock

Ballycurrany West

 

SITUATED ON PRIVATE LAND

 

This site was identified from the Schools’ Manuscript Collection of the Folklore Archives held at University College Dublin.

 

The well was often used but the incline is difficult from the road and rounds ceased to be paid, or Mass said there, about 8 years ago. Traditionally rounds were paid on 15th August annually with certain rites paid 8 days before and 8 days after.

 

There used to be two stones at the well, one on either side with markings on them. These were removed a number of years ago and are now stored in Cork Museum under ‘Lisgoold’. These are detailed in the Schools’ Manuscript Collection (1937). There is a stone in front of the well and it is believed that the imprints in the rock are the hand and knee imprints of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


The Mass Rock is to the NE of the well. This large earthfast boulder measuring approximately 3m in length and 1.5m in height is set into an incline.

Although covered in moss at the time of the visit, the family advise that there are indentations in the Mass Rock which were used to place the chalice and cross and two holes for the candles. The road nearby is known as the Glen Road and lookouts would have been stationed on the nearby hills. The owner advised that a chalice was recovered from the River Lisgoold about 75 years ago.

Entries in the Schools’ Manuscript Collection state that ‘it is known as ‘Our Lady’s Well’ …… a palm tree grows on either side of the well and a hazel tree near on them ….. a stream flows from the well down a rocky incline and there is no sign of a (S387: 99) stream flowing in to the well.

Entries in the Schools’ Manuscript Collection state that ‘it is known as ‘Our Lady’s Well’ …… a palm tree grows on either side of the well and a hazel tree near on them ….. a stream flows from the well down a rocky incline and there is no sign of a (S387: 99) stream flowing in to the well.

There is a large stone about a foot square in front of the well in the stream water called locally a ‘foot stone’. Then there are two stones one on either side about a foot high. Those two are shaped like a man in the rough, the eyes, mouth and nose are all visible to the hands by the side as in illustration (there is a little hand drawn picture) (S387: 100).

A little west of the well stands a large stone 3 or 4 foot high of sandstone. On this stone there are several crosses cut in to it. This is called locally the ‘Mass Stone’. It is believed locally that Mass was said here in Penal days. The soldiers used be watching from Buckley’s Wood of Lackabeha and that people hearing Mass were killed here by the soldiers (S387: 100)

Farahy Mass Rock

 

This Mass Rock is easily accessed on the roadside.

 

In undulating pasture the Mass Rock sits on a slope rising to the south. The conglomerate of rock is orientated in a line running N to S.

 

The Archaeological Survey of Ireland reports that the rock was disturbed by machinery but subsequently replaced in its original location, though upturned.

The site is now fully enclosed and thoughtfully maintained.

 

Co-ordinates: 52° 14' 2.1" N  -8° 26' 6.5" W

Commons Mass Rock Site

 

SITUATED ON PRIVATE LAND

 

Situated down a narrow, single track public road that leads from the back road between Johnstown and Inchigeelagh, in the parish of Kilmichael, the site sits within a gently sloping valley.

 

Whilst no altar now remains, the Mass Rock site is north facing and enclosed within a rectangular walled field known as the ‘altar field’.

County

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CORK

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