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Gortaneadin Grotto, Inchigeela

Site of vision

This grotto, dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, was officially blessed on the 19th January 1969. It was built by a local family, the McCarthys, at the request of their daughter Mary. Mary suffered from ill health at a very early age. Aged 8, she was taken out by her mother for some fresh air. She asked her mother to stop at Gortaneadin, then a wild and overgrown spot, and told her the place should become a grotto. Shortly before she died, Mary asked her father to carry her to the same spot and described exactly where the statue of Our Lady and that of St Bernadette should be placed.  After her death in 1962, the family duly built the grotto exactly as Mary requested. It seems that Mary had been having visions since she was four years old.

The grotto has become a site of pilgrimage and hope for miraculous visions have been reported here, most notably throughout 1985 and 1986 when Our Lady was said to have spoken to several people, outlining her desire for the world . Today the grotto remains very much as it has always been, beautifully kept and freshly painted in blues and white. The small covered seating area is plastered with offerings,prayers and hopes.

Two miles outside Inchigeela village, right on the side of the road, parking available

This is an extraordinary place, still much venerated. It has a peace and quietness, yet feels full of ghosts and watchfulness. There is something very poignant about the homespun shelter with the mismatch of chairs and cushions, the interior festooned with so many  hopes and fears.