ballymorisheen mass rock remains
Remains of Ballymorrisheen

The mass house in Ballymorrisheen is probably the earliest recorded church in Cappagh. During the penal days, the mass house in Ballymorrisheen was levelled. Its ruin can still be seen.

The mass rock nearby served the people of Cappagh until the turn of the 1800s, when the church at Cappagh Hill was built. This was a superior building for its time, with its chiselled limestone windows, walls of stone and mortar and a thatched roof.

On the night of the 6th of January 1839, a storm long remembered as the “night of the big wind” blew down the church at Cappagh Hill. Its thatched roof was never found.

In 1839, Fr Jeremiah Halpin was the parish priest. He secured a site for a new church and, by the end of 1839, the present church was complete. Fr Halpin acted as architect and engineer. Stones were carted from nearby quarries by local volunteers. It had a mud floor with no seating; benches were provided at a much later stage.

Priests of the parish.jpg

In the years that followed, extensive reconstruction and decoration was carried out to the church, thanks to the generosity of the people of the parish and to the people who remembered the church in their wills.

The catholic church in Cappagh, as with all areas coutry-wide, is suffering from ever decreasing numbers. With no resident priest, the problem is compounded.  However the dioceses is attempting to address these issues with the ‘Synod’ which has been a great think thank, with delegates from all parishes sharing ideas and concerns. Hopefully there will be some productive solutions forthcoming when we meet again in the autumn.