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Keem Bay
St Patricks Chair

Mass Rock Sites of:

County MAYO

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The altar forms part of a raised contoured stone-built area set atop a platform with one step leading up to it.


The site sits within a wooded/scrub landscape on private land.

Cahernacole Mass Rock Site,

The Neale, County Mayo




This Mass Rock is situated within a manmade enclosure consisting of dry stone walling measuring roughly 19m long by 4m wide.


The site sits within a wooded/scrubland landscape and is surrounded by pasture. The altar is part of a raised contoured stone-built area set atop a platform. 


The Connaught Telegraph (2005) advises that the Mass Rock was re-instated in 2000 as part of the millennium celebrations and over 600 people attended the inaugural celebrations. Mass was again celebrated at the Mass Rock in 2005 and in 2009.

Keem Bay

Keem Bay Mass Rock Site,

Achill Island, County Mayo


Theresa McDonald makes reference to this Mass rock in her book Achill Island. Archaeology, History, Folklore published by IAS Publications in 2006.


According to McDonald (2006) the present penal altar is a modern construction.


The site sits in an elevated position above the coast guard station and is protected from view by the steep mountains that surround it.

Keem Bay

The Mass rock is east facing. The east side of the 1m high cairn is convex but the west side is flat. The cross is placed centrally on top of the cairn and measures 43cm in height.

Keem Bay

St Patricks Chair (Cloch Phadraig) Mass Rock


This large rock may be found along the Tóchar Phádraig on Stage 2 (Lufferton to the Battlement) after stile 22.


Anyone wishing to undertake the route is advised to register at Ballintubber Abbey where they will be provided with instructions concerning the route.


The Abbey has also published a book entitled ‘Tóchar Phádraig. A Pilgrim’s Progress’ which fully details the whole route including a total of 6 Mass Rocks.



Co-ordinates: 53° 45' 45.4" N -9° 19' 17.7" W

This is a very ancient stone which bears marks on its upper surface (believed to be fire holes associated with sun worship). Ballintubber Abbey advise that St. Patrick may have used this rock as a Mass Rock (Ballintubber Abbey Route Guide)

Oghillees Mass Rock


The Mayo News (2012) reports that “To get to the Mass rock you have a myriad of routes to choose from.



The Mass Rock Route is signed with purple arrows on yellow as an extension to the Oghillees loop, the longest of the Derradda Loop Walks, which starts at Derradda Community Centre.


Elevation: 335m
Co-ordinates: 53° 56' 14.2" N -9° 37' 47.1" W

Follow the red and green arrows, towards Lettermaghera and rather than turning back down towards Lough Fadda, continue west along the red arrowed Achill Spur until you meet a junction and follow the markers for the Oghillees Mass Rock, 4km further up the hill.The route is well marked with a stream to your left as you ascend, making sure to veer right at the final marker that leads you across to a cluster of stones where an outline of the cross can still be seen today and where, the sound of the more recently appointed metal cross humming in the wind will act as a reassuring guide.

The Achill Spur can be accessed by a number of different routes; depending on how long or short you wish to make your walk. The Spur and all the trails that loop off it can be accessed off the Great Western Greenway, at one of the many junctions along the way. For those of you who have already experienced the Greenway, the routes above it offer the chance to come back and discover the spectacular beauty that surrounds it.  Alternatively, drive to Carrowsallagh, around five miles from Newport, take the road to the right and follow to the junction, taking care to park where you do not obstruct property or machinery.”
This may sound straight forward but it took us 3 hours to find it! We parked by the farm gate in Carrowsallagh and followed the path. It appeared that someone may have deliberately removed the first signpost to the Mass Rock which meant we carried on until we came to an abandoned farm and a well. We had gone far too far and had to double back. When we were almost back at the car we spotted the signpost lying on the ground. We crossed the stream and walked on the land to the right of the stream. It is peat bog so it is very uneven – take a walking pole as you will need it! As you ascend you will see the markers come in to sight which makes life a lot easier. Do not go over the mountain. If you do, then you have gone past the Mass Rock. The Mass Rock sits in a hollow in the landscape so you cannot see it until you are almost upon it.

Murrisk Mass Rock


There are no available co-ordinates for this site as it has not been visited personally. Details have been kindly provided by both Michael Freemantle and Brian Hoban (Clogher Heritage Centre).


Additionally, there is a YouTube clip of Sisters Of Mercy nun, Sr. Jude Groden who visited the Mass Rock in 2013.







Original photo kindly provided courtesy of Michael Freemantle.

The Mass Rock is located on the Clew Bay side of Croagh Patrick and is part of the Murrisk Loop Walk which is well signed in the car park at the foot of the mountain. The Mass Rock is marker 4 on the walk and measures just under 2m in height and is about 1m wide.

Mass Rock Sites beyond the Irish Borders

Slide show

Mass Rock



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