Bal­ly­heigue’s proud tra­di­tion shines brightly

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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