ARRIVING for the outdoor Mass in the rain at Clais an Aifrinn in Sylane last Friday. Photo: Niall Fleming

Far from Canada Dry

Canadian visitors get soaked at Sylane’s Mass Rock

DESPITE the driving rain and mist, a large group of Canadians on a ten-day trip to religious sites in Ireland celebrated Mass at the Sylane mass rock, Clais an Aifrinn, which dates back to 1680, last Friday morning.

Among the major religious sites in Ireland that the Canadian party visited were Glendalough in Wicklow, which was associated with St Kevin, while after their Sylane visit they went to see the ruins of the famous monastery founded by St Ciaran on the banks of the Shannon in Clonmacnoise in the sixth century.

One of the group said that while they were told that Ireland has about 800 mass rocks, it was a random choice of the Canadians to visit the Clais an Aifrinn one in Sylane.

Sylane’s historical site is one of the best preserved and still has a large stone altar, a rounded cut stone cross, and an engraving in the stone at the front of the altar. It states “U.N. 1680”, which represents the name of the parish priest at that time, Ulick Nalley, who celebrated Mass covertly under the threat of death if the English authorities captured him…

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