North Kerry

Farranfore | Irish : An Fearann Fuar : The land of the underground streams

Arriving in Kerry gets easier. There are daily flights from Stanstead, England, to Kerry Airport at Farranfore. There are also weekly services from Dusseldorf and Frankfurt, Germany. Car hire can be arranged at the Airport.

Mass Rock: (Irish-Poll an Aifrinn) situated at Killaclohane Wood (Coill Chill an Chlochain) about 5 miles from Farranfore on the Castlemaine road. It was here in 1653 that Fr. Tadgh Moriarty was arrested by Crown forces while saying Mass – Fr. Tadgh Moriarty was born in Castledrum in the parish of Castlemaine about 1603. He went overseas to prepare for the priesthood,studying in Toledo and later in the Dominican College of Corpo Santo in Lisbon. After ordination,Tadgh returned to his native Kerry. He soon became Prior of Holy Cross Abbey,Tralee and became one of four professors in the short-lived seminary founded in Tralee by Bishop Rickard O’Connell.
With the final destruction of Holy Cross Abbey by Cromwellian forces Tadgh left Tralee and withdrew to the Castlemaine/Miltown area. Disguised as a merchant he continued to celebrate Mass and administer the Sacraments to people under his care. He was aware that if he was caught he would be executed. In spite of the obvious dangers he continued to celebrate the Eucharist at the Mass Rock in Killaclohane Wood. It was said that during that time the Mass Rock there became the parish church of Miltown. On the 15th August 1653 while celebrating Mass at “Poll an Aifreann” Mass Rock, Fr.Tadgh was taken prisoner by Cromwellian soldiers. He was forced to walk all the way to Killarney (approx. 15 miles) where he was imprisoned in the dungeon at Ross Castle. For two months he was grossly ill-treated but did not complain. He was hanged on 15th October 1653 at Martyr’s Hill, Killarney. Even the Cromwellians were forced into admiration. One of them remarked: “If ever a papist were a Martyr, he certainly should be accounted one.”
Fr. Tadgh Moriarty is linked to two other Kerry martyrs, Fr.Dermot Francis O’Sullivan, O.F.M. cut down by the sword on the island of Scariff in Derrynane Bay on 23rd June 1653, and Fr. Conor McCarthy, Parish Priest of Killeentierna, who was hanged in Killarney on 5th June 1653. Their cause for Beatification are being considered by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome. Moladh go Deo Le Dia.

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