Ballyheigue’s proud tradition shines brightly
IT’S the spectacle that makes those convinced of the notion of a newly secular Ireland stop dead in their tracks - thousands of devotees of Holy Mary gathered for the annual Mass celebrating the birth of Our Lady that is the Ballyheigue Pattern.
2017 saw the tradition wholly undimmed with more devotees than ever making the trip to Ballyheigue, including a group of pilgrims who had set out early from the Dominican Church in Tralee on foot along the North Kerry Way to make Our Lady’s Well in time for the 11am Mass.
Saying the rosary on their way they reached the grotto as thousands more were converging on it from near and far.
“We had a great crowd in for the Pattern and it would surprise you where they come from - you’ll meet them from way back west in Dingle as well as from closer to home in the likes of Kilmoyley and Causeway,” Local Fianna Fáil County Councillor and Cathaoirleach of the Listowel District John Lucid said.
“The Pattern is a tradition going back centuries focused around Our Lady’s Well which emerged as a very important location for Catholics during penal times, a place where they celebrated Masses.”
While religious devotion is at the heart of the Pattern, its social function is very important too as it brings thousands together from all over the area; including many returned Ballyheiguers delighted to get home for September 8.
“It all started off on Thursday night with the Pattern Thresher in The White Sands Hotel at which there was a massive turnout for the music, set-dancing and craic in what was the third year of the Thresher revival,” Cllr Lucid told The Kerryman.
The ladies responsible for keeping the pilgrims refreshed (and an unnamed friend feeling rather flushed):
From left, Maura Wynark, Geraldine O’Connor, Avril O’Shea, Mrs Ryan and Shivaun Barnes.
Brid and Nora Supple and Alice Lawlorattending the Ballyheigue Pattern at Our Lady ’s Well and Grotto on Friday last.
Most we showers