Church on Gougane Barra Lake, Ireland

Gougane Barra is a settlement, west of Macroom in County Cork, Ireland.

The name Gougane Barra comes from Saint Finbarr, who is said to have built a monastery on an island in the lake nearby during the 6th century. The present ruins date from around 1700 when a priest called Denis O'Mahony retreated to the island. During the times of the Penal Laws, Gougane Barra's remoteness meant that it became a popular place for the celebration of the Roman Catholic Mass. The nineteenth century oratory which stands near the original monastery is famous for its picturesque location and richly decorated interior and is a popular place for weddings.

It is a popular pilgrimage destination with pilgrims coming to pray a 'round' of prayers described in a 'tablet' at the entrance to the island. This 'round' includes prayers at a series of small stone cells in a small walled court as well as the oratory itself.


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