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Mass rock, Glanalin


This large and impressive flat topped rock is tucked into a steep ridge and overlooks Bantry Bay. It makes a perfect, imposing and rugged altar. During Penal times (from early 17C onwards) the Protestant Ascendency dominated by imposing restrictive religious, economic and political law on Roman Catholics. Worship was restricted or forbidden, churches destroyed, Bishops banned, and priests had to be registered.  A stone in some remote spot was chosen as a meeting point. where mass could be celebrated in secret. Information was by word of mouth and the priest, often arriving in disguise, risked imprisonment.

The site was restored in 2000, a special mass was held, and commemorative stone designed.

Nearby site:



Glanalin: glen of pickles!
Sheep's Head Way north - Seefin to Cahergal; signed from route
V 809 399

Getting to this isolate spot is an adventure in itself. The path is usually wet, slippery and aromatic - lined with heather, gorse and bog myrtle. The stone tucks neatly into a little elevated ridge and it's easy to imagine the priest holding mass with the congregation gathered below.  A wild and remote place, it has a real poignancy. Stones placed on the rock seem to have meaning. A still revered site. The views out across Bantry Bay are fabulous.