Mass Rock/ Carraig an Aifrinn

Mass rock. carrig an aifrinn 3

Route: When leaving Cloghane, Take the Glen road for approximately 4.5km . The first section of this walk is suitable for wheelchair bound people, who can travel along the tarred road. Then you venture into off terrain territory. As this is not a set path, enter with caution and be vigilant. Appropriate hiking gear is required and walk is dependant on weather conditions.

History: A ‘Mass Rock’, or ‘Carraig an Aifrinn’ when translated into Irish is a rock that was used as an alter during mid-17th century Ireland as a location for Catholic Mass.  Under the Penal Laws in 1695 and Cromwell’s campaign it was forbidden to attend catholic religious ceremonies. Bishops were banished and Priests had to register under the 1704 Registration Act. Priest hunters were hired to arrest any priests who weren’t registered. Isolated locations were used to carry out religious ceremonies discretely. A stone would be taken from a church ruin and relocated to an isolated, rural area with a simple cross carved on its top. As this was an extremely illegal task, it proved difficult and dangerous to carry out and services were not scheduled. Parishioners would have to spread the word secretly when a service was to perform. In some instances, if caught attending, The priest and parishioners, including children were killed. Some were buried near the mass rock.

Mass rock. carrig an aifrinn

Local Information:  The Glen road ( Also known as ‘Mullach’) was the route taken by Colonel Zouse with a regiment of soldiers on their way to Dún and Óir in 1580. They passed through Gleann Sean Choirp (the glen of the dead body), and out through the saddle in the hills between the Gearán and Cnoc Bhaile Uf She at Mullach Bheal. This pass is still known as ‘Corn Aouse’ after the Colonel. The many stones scattered along the foot of the hills are said to have dropped form the apron of a ‘Caillach’ who was walking close by. The Cailleach translates as ‘hag’, or old woman. However in origin, she was undoubtedly one of the goddesses, or a special manifestation of the land goddess.

The Route Can be Found in the Link Below: However Warning, warning, warning: Very dangerous at the final approach to Mass Rock. Big uneven rocks and holes. Not recommend at all unless extreme caution taken.