Donagh Mass Rock

The Donagh Mass Rock, located in the old oak woods near Carrick, Carndonagh, was a site of secret worship for mass-goers during the era of the Penal Laws (introduced in 1695).  Priests risked the punishment of death if discovered saying Mass during this time, and the congregation also risked violent retribution. Because of this, the location of Mass Rocks tended to be remote, hidden and isolated, to ensure the safety of all. Often the site chosen was on the border between two parishes, which were owned by two separate landlords. This way, neither landlord would know which parish deserved to be punished if the mass was discovered. Mass times were not publically shared, so as to avoid detection, and word of mouth was used to inform parishioners of the date and time of upcoming services. The Donagh Mass Rock remains in its original position today. A mass was held there in the 1980s, but these days it is more a site of historical interest than pilgrimage.

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