Sun shines for annual 'Shrone City' Mass

Tadhg Evans

It may have been held a week later than usual, but the history behind the annual outdoor Mass in the 'City of Shrone' means it'll take a lot more than a change of date to stop the people coming.

The City of Shrone is located in Gortnagane, just south of Rathmore town and just west of the Cork border, and many of those who went to Mass in the shadow of the Paps on Sunday had walked from the Cork side of the border.

It's the oldest still-revered spiritual site in western Europe, and ceremonies there date back to pre-Christian times, Parish Priest Anthony O'Sullivan explained to The Kerryman.

The Mass usually takes place on the first Sunday in May, but due to the Rally of the Lakes going through the locality, it was moved back this year. 

It was Fr O'Sullivan's first time celebrating Mass at the location, and he left very impressed at the occasion. "It was a lovely day for it," he said.

"The sun was shining, the sky was blue; it was lovely. There was a great sense of togetherness and celebration. I wouldn't know how the numbers compared to other years, but it seemed very good to me.

"It wouldn't have been fair to have it the same day as the rally, but I'd like to see us return to the traditional date in future."