Pilgrimages to Gougane Barra
The Story of Gougane Barra
The hallowed shrine of Saint Finbarr dates back to the sixth century. Here the saint communed with God. The surrounding mountains were his cloister and the lake was for him the mirror of God’s grandeur. Stone cells commemorate his hermitage. From here he journeyed the river-way of the Lee to become the first bishop and founder of the church and city of Cork. He died in 623 AD and his feast-day is celebrated on September the 25th
Text inscribed at the entrance to the Island, attributed to Timothy Manning, Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles, native of Uibh Laoire parish.
Each year, pilgrims gather at Gougane on the Sunday following 25 September to honour St Finbarr and ask for his blessing.
St Finbarr is patron of Cork, one of the patrons of the Diocese of Cork and Ross, and is also honoured at University College Cork on whose gate pillars is engraved the phrase “Where Finbarr taught let Munster learn”
Any latest news and announcements will be published below
In the region of 2500 people were present in Gougane Barra on Sunday 1st October for Rosary and Annual Mass for Gougane Sunday.
Many of those present remarked that this was one of the largest attendances in many years and the occasion was blessed with beautiful autumn weather. This was a unique occasion in that this year marks the 1,400 anniversary of the death of St. Finbarr.
People gathered from many parishes and different groups for the Rosary and Annual Mass.
Sunday Oct 1st is a special day in Gougane Barra this year
Bishop Fintan will lead celebrations marking 1,400 years since St Finbarr - the founder of Gougane Barra – died.
Rosary at 2.30pm will be followed by concelebrated Mass at 3pm on the island.
The principal celebrant will be Bishop Fintan Gavin and the homily will be preached by Fr Bernard Cotter.
Processional music will be by Ballingeary Pipe Band.
Everyone is welcoome.
Marauding forces from overseas tried to stop it. The supression of Catholicism made it a crime. Even bishops declared at times that was a sin to go there!
But going to Gougane Barra to pray has been a constant for over 1,400 years.
In recent decades it's well known as a special place to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage – and thousands of couples have.
During the Penal Laws, when the celebration Mass was outlawed, lay people developed their own way of praying there and this became known as "doing the rounds". To this day, communities still call there on hearing of an illness or need for prayer in their community.
On Sunday Oct 1st., Bishop Fintan Gavin will preside at Mass there to mark the 1,400th anniversary of the first Christian to have prayed there – St Finbarr.
Sunday 1 October 2023
2:30pm Rosary - Fr Bernard Cotter
3:00pm Mass - Bishop Fintan Gavin
Finbarr established an early monastic community here and later went on to found a centre of learning in the march of Cork -- which later grew into the city.
All are invited to the celebrations at Gougane Barra on Sunday 1st October marking the 1,400th anniversary of the death of St Finbarr.
Mass at 3pm is preceded by the Rosary at 2.30 pm. Fr Bernard Cotter, former Parish Priest of Uibh Laoire and Co-PP in Castlehaven Parish will preach the homily.
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