The newly refurbished Marian Year Grotto at Killough was blessed by Fr Tom Fogarty, PP Moycarkey, on Sunday 2 April. The Grotto is located beside the entrance to Killough Limestone Quarry on the road which forms the border between the parishes of Boherlahan and Moycarkey. The Gaile Community Group undertook this project in February 2022 to see the Grotto restored to its former glory.
The celebration was enhanced by a selection of Marian hymns.
The Grotto was originally erected by the quarry workers to commemorate the Marian Year in 1954. Hundreds of statues, shrines and grottos were put up throughout Ireland for the Marian Year which was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII to commemorate the centenary of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
Weathered stone from Killough Hill was used to form the main structure which was fronted by an iron railing. The statues of the Blessed Virgin and St Bernadette were sourced from Messrs Neffs of Cork. The quarry workers contributed the entire £75 cost of the shrine. Thereafter, the men would gather at the Grotto on Good Fridays to recite the Rosary.
Fr John McGrath, then PP of Moycarkey, performed the unveiling and blessing of the Grotto in December 1954. Despite the very inclement nature of the weather on the day back then, there was a good gathering of parishioners for the event. Almost 69 years later, an excellent attendance from Gaile and further afield enjoyed a beautiful sunny day as Fr Fogarty carried out the rededication.
A new feature of the restored Grotto is the solar powered illumination which creates a beautiful effect after dark.