Telephone: +353 (0)91 532 460  |  |  Contact Us

Upcoming Talk on ‘Mass Paths’ by Dr Hilary Bishop

Galway City Museum are delighted to welcome Dr. Hilary Bishop of Liverpool John Moores University to the Museum for an upcoming talk about Mass Paths – the countryside walkways used by Catholics to attend illegal masses during penal times (1695–1829).  The talk takes place on Saturday 13 January 2024, 2.30pm – 3.30pm, at Galway City Museum.  Admission is free but advance booking is advised as seating is limited.  To book a place contact the Museum on 091 532 460 or email  Suitable for ages 12+

Dr. Bishop has been collaborating with artist Caitriona Dunnett, Lackagh Museum and Lackagh community on A Well Trodden Path, the new outdoor exhibition currently on display at Galway City Museum.  The exhibition explores the heritage of mass paths in the townland of Lackagh, Co Galway.

For decades parishioners from outlying homes journeyed across fields to celebrate mass. This project involved the mapping together and photographing of 15 mass paths. Fragments of old tracks, stiles and footbridges were pieced together with the recollections of older parishioners.  The exhibition will be on display until the end of January 2024. 

In this illustrated talk, Dr Bishop, assisted by Michael Hurley of the Lackagh Museum and Heritage Centre, will look at the origin of Mass Paths and their social significance connecting townlands throughout the large parish of Lackagh.

“Mass paths would either have led to a Mass Rock or to a church. Those leading to a Mass Rock will be of earlier date– Penal laws 1695 – 1756 but possibly earlier.  At the time they would have been kept secret so that the authorities did not know their whereabouts. In Penal times, Mass goers would often have used streams to hide their footprints.” – Dr. Hilary Bishop

The public are invited to attend the talk on Saturday 13 January to learn more about the history and heritage of Ireland’s mass paths.



Get the latest Galway City Museum news directly to your inbox!

Scroll to Top
Skip to content