Mass Rock Killeshin, Co. Laois

I discovered Mass Rock in Killeshin, County Laois.

The Irish name for a Mass Rock is Carraig an Aifrinn.

So, a Mass Rock was a rock used as an altar in mid-17th century Ireland as a location for Catholic Mass.

Moreover, it is believed that there are hundreds if not thousands of Mass Rocks strewn all over the island of Ireland.

What`s more, isolated locations were sought to hold religious ceremonies, as observing the Catholic Mass was a matter of difficulty and danger at the time. As a result of both Cromwell’s campaign against the Irish, and the Penal Law of 1695.

In many instances, a stone would be taken from a church ruin, and relocated to a rural area, with a simple cross carved on its top. Because the activity was illegal, the services were not scheduled and parishioners would be obliged to spread the word of them informally.

I’ve never seen a Mass Rock before and this is the first one I discovered in Killeshin, County Laois.

Definitely wouldn’t have seen it if not for the road sign. Because this place is in the middle of the field. So, getting there involves walking down what looks like a private entrance to a house. And in the garden of that house, there were a statues and fountain with lion heads. Then continuing down a narrow grassy lane to an old gate that doesn’t quite open. Next, you will need to step over an electric fence for cattle, so be careful. Then traversing a field to a group of trees. So this is a small adventure. The site is gated and well-maintained.

Definitely, this place had an undefined magic and it was worth visiting.

Location of Mass Rock Killeshin, Co. Laois:

Below are photos I took in March 2021.


Blogger. Volunteer. Enthusiast of photography, nature, architecture, and cultural events. Since 2014 living in County Carlow in Ireland.

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