Mass Rock Sites of:
Clogher Mass Rock (Cloch an Altór)
The village of Clogher takes its name from this site Cloch na hAltora. This Mass Rock is an ancient monument of some considerable size and easily accessible from the road. There is a plaque clearly marking the site imbedded within a wall.
This Mass Rock is part of a walk provided by Brian Hoban from Clogher Heritage Centre who operate a number of walks during the summer months. Brian advised that a coat would be placed over a large white stone located on Slievemore to indicate that a priest was in the area and would say Mass.
Co-ordinates: N 53 45 11.5 W -9 15 5.3
Carrogolda Mass Rock
SITUATED ON PRIVATE LAND
Mass Rock atop a hill in undulating pasture. This almost circular sandstone boulder measures 1.7m by 1.8m and is 1.3m high and resembles a font. It has two hollow depressions on top of the stone.
Folklore tells that these hollows were made from the footprints of a witch as she jumped from the nearby round tower on to the rock.
Callow Mass Rock
SITUATED ON PRIVATE LAND
Local folklore dictates that the Bullaun in a field in Callow was used as a Mass Rock.
Bullaun stones feature at a number of other Mass Rock sites including Derrynafinchin, Shehy Beg and Beach in County Cork. Estyn Evans (1966) draws attention to the use of bullaun stones in association with sun-worship.
Boheh Mass Rock
This Mass Rock is easily accessible from the road and may be found along the Tóchar Phádraig at the very beginning of Stage 11 (Boheh to Boleybrian) stile 101.
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.
The site is situated just off the N59 travelling in the direction of Leenaune from Westport. You need to drive roughly 6 miles through Knappagh. You will pass a petrol station on your left and you need to turn left after this petrol station. You will come to a fork in the road and you should take the right hand fork. The Boheh Stone Mass Rock is located behind a derelict property and is well sign posted.
The Archaeological Survey of Ireland advises that ‘The Boheh stone is a national monument in State care (no. 530). A large natural boulder of out-cropping rock ........ stone bears one of the finest collection of petroglyphs in Ireland spread out over an area c. 4m square. The motifs, over 250 in number, have been carved on all surfaces of the stone at various levels (van Hoek 1993) and mainly take the form of ‘cup’, ‘cup and rings’ and ‘keyhole’ designs.
The carvings have formed the basis of a ‘rolling sun’ thesis (Bracken and Wayman 1992; Van Hoek 1993) where the setting sun appears to glide or roll down the north flank of Croagh Patrick around two particular dates during the year (18th April and 24th August).
A further panel of art was exposed on the stone in 2015. (Kinahan 1878-9; Bracken and Wayman 1992; Van Hoek 1993; Morahan 2001, 28-9)’ (ASI 2015 Internet Source).The stone also bears an inscribed cross which is a feature found on a number of
Co-ordinates: N 53 44 51.5 W -09 33 14.8
Tavraun Mass Rock
SITUATED ON PRIVATE LAND
This large boulder measures roughly 2m by 2m and nearly 1m in height with a hollow bowl-like cavity on the upper surface. It is situated in a deep hollow.
An entry in the Schools’ Manuscript Collection of the Folklore Archives at University College Dublin states that ‘In our village – Tavrane – situated about three and a half miles from Kilkelly there is a Mass Rock. It is situated in very low ground surrounded by hills. The hills have been a great advantage to the priests and people during the Penal laws.
The Mass Rock can be seen only from the hills. It is said that Mass was offered up there may times. There is a big hole in the rock where the holy water was kept. While Mass was said there were always people keeping watch for fear any soldiers might happen to come on the scene’ (S119:52). Mass was said at this site in 2013 and attended by about 200 people.
The site notice (2009) reads ‘The flat roof stone was used as an altar during Penal times, giving the tomb its local name Altóir, meaning altar. It has a primitive incised cross at the upper surface at the south-eastern end’
Srahwee or Altóir Mass Rock
This wedge tomb which would have been built in the Bronze Age (2500-500BC) was subsequently used as a Mass Rock in Penal times. It may be found along the Clew Bay Archaeological Trail, Clew Bay, County Mayo (site number 13).
Robeen Mass Rock
The Mass Rock is located outside the church at Robeen, Hollywood and is dated 25th December 1776.
My sincere thanks to Marianne Forde and her father Martin for the information and the photographs.