Gougane Barra has it!


It certainly seemed that way yesterday!

The small island in Uibh Laoire parish, and just west of Ballingeary, enjoys a long tradition of pilgrimage. The annual Mass which in recent years is held on the Sunday after St Finbarr’s feast day (Sept 25th) draws a faithful following which this year was enlarged by the fine weather and a general spirit which uplifted by the fine day.

The day is a curious mix of lots of things: some people walk there from Kilgarvan (the other side of the Kerry border); some come by bus from up to 80 miles away; some bring elderly and frail relatives who sit in the car with the window down to let the Mass and its blessings waft towards them across water; some come as members of the local organisers who steward cars and people and some young people bring their pipes and drums and mobile phones.

The religious experience is also a mix of traditional devotions with rounds and rosaries and hymns old and new sung in English agus as Gaeilge.

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[Update 4/10/2009: one of my photos from Gougane Sunday is published in the Irish Catholic Newspaper today!]

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