Located on the southern slopes of the Pigeon Top (Polnaslaght), it may have originated from Pagan times before being adopted by Christianity and was called Buinna's Altar; in the background is the altar used to celebrate the mass. This was used in order to worship during the Penal times to celebrate Mass.
With the coming of the Penal Laws and consequent troubles at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Catholic Church went underground, celebrating the liturgy in secret or in quiet obscure places. This site was of great significance during penal times when celebrating Mass was forbidden and the punishments for doing so where severe. There are many stories of red-coats dragging priests from the altars in other parts of the country however in researching the history I have found no incidents of this here.
The Drumragh Parish Home page says “The Parish of Drumragh, which includes most of the town of Omagh, can be defined by two locations, the Mass Rock of Corradinna and the Church of the Sacred Heart in Omagh. The Mass Rock gives testimony to a people in penal times that were prepared to endure great hardship so that the faith could survive”.
Though this small patch of land with a humble altar may not seem much in these days when faith and worship is free, this place is a mark and reminder of those who persecuted for their particular faith. It is my belief that by highlighting these great spots of Northern Ireland’s history we may be reminded by the cruelty and hardness of heart that we humans are capable of and we may make the decision live in harmony and never visit that mind set ever again.
Northern Ireland has moved forward and is now a place where all faiths can freely worship. The cache is a medium sized clip lock box, there is the usual goodies and a logbook. To access the cache, park at the additional waypoint listed, there is a 5 minute walk down the lane (it takes 10 minutes to climb back up again) please respect this area, and anyone using the site for prayers.
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