ISLAND MASS: Mary O’Donoghue from Killarney is inviting the public to Innisfallen Island to attend the annual Mass on Friday June 14. Photo: Michelle Crean

By Michelle Crean

Locals are set to celebrate a very special event next week – the 25thannual Mass on Innisfallen Island and Abbey.

For the last quarter of a century it has become an annual tradition in Killarney with hundreds of locals once again expected to attend this year’s ceremony on Friday, June 14.

Mass will be celebrated at 6.30pm by Fr Jim Lenihan, and all are welcome to attend.

Boats leave from Ross Castle from 4.30pm onwards and it is open to all.

It is a lovely opportunity to join in prayer together with the rich tradition of the monks of old, explained Mary O’Donoghue, who originally organised the very first Mass at the time with her husband Geoffrey.

“It’s a very special Mass,” Mary told the Killarney Advertiser this week.

“It’s on the island itself and is so beautiful.”

Mary’s husband, who sadly only attended four annual Masses, before he died suddenly 21 years ago aged just 61, was a descendent of the O’Donoghues who built Ross Castle.

At the time both Mary and Geoffrey attended the Charismatic Prayer Meeting together in the Pastoral Centre, Killarney.

“Geoffrey being a descendent wanted a Mass,” Mary explained. “And it was at the prayer meeting that he met Franciscan Fr Eamonn O’Driscoll who agreed to say the Mass. At the time the island owned by John McShain was handed over to the people of Killarney and the OPW had been organising the unveiling of a plaque in his memory on the island, so the Mass coincided with it. His daughter,Sr Pauline,unveiled the plaque in memory of her father and the whole thing took on a life of its own as we continued the Mass every year on the island and are now celebrating 25 years. Last year, as we were setting up for the Mass, Prince Charles flew over in his helicopter and we waved up to him.”

However, she added that a few years ago the McShain plaque, which was positioned on a pillar, disappeared and no one knows where it went.

“The plaque is gone for years now including the pillar. Whoever took it went to an awful lot of trouble.”