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During the Penal Times, the celebration of Mass was illegal, and anyone found doing so (either attending as a participant or celebrating as a member of the clergy), could be severely punished.  Many priests who were actively practicising their faith had prices put on their heads, with the idea that they would be turned in by others for payment of the price. 

As a result, many Catholics in Ireland devised a way to continue to practice their faith by holding Mass in secluded and wooded areas throughout rural areas in Ireland.  Tulla was no exception and the Mass was celebrated in the middle of a densely wooded area at the northern tip of Tulla parish.  In Tulla, the signal would be passed from house to house that the priest was going to say Mass.  People would quietly begin their trek to the Rock going via stream to avoid detection, and travelling quickly and quietly through the woods. 

The Folklore Collection shares some of the stories that were told from one generation to another about the Mass Rock.

In 1988, Fr. Pat Malone, PP of Tulla decided to re-instate a celebration of the Mass Rock.  Volunteers cleared a path and cleaned up the area around the Rock.  The Mass was held that year with a large crowd from Tulla, Crusheen and Ballinruan and further for those who wished to participate in this special event.

The Mass Rock celebration continues in Tulla and has recently been an event associated with the Tulla Weekend of the Welcomes.  The Mass continues to draw a large crowd and the Mass is celebrated with musicians, singers and the community taking part. 

To read more about the Mass Rock, please see the following:

https://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/5260434/5252724/5262451?ChapterID=5260434

https://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/5260434/5252443/5261842?ChapterID=5260434

 

Address Loughane townland, Tulla, County Clare
Parish(es) Tulla (Clare) Inchicronan (Clare)
Category (ies) Religion Tourist Attraction