Health-endangering masts cause the cancellation of an open-air traditional Easter Mass

Co Kerry, Ireland: "EXPANSION OF MASTS HALTS DAWN MASS ON HILLTOP"

And now health-endangering masts cause the cancellation of an open-air traditional Easter Mass.

Best, Imelda, Cork.


THE IRISH TIMES, THURSDAY, APRIL 13, 2006

"EXPANSION OF MASTS HALTS DAWN MASS ON HILLTOP: TRADITIONAL EASTER CEREMONY TO BE ABANDONED IN NORTH KERRY

EASTER CEREMONIES [by] Anne Lucey

An Easter Sunday dawn Mass on a Kerry hilltop is being abandoned this year because of the number of telecommunications masts and structures which have sprung up there in recent years. Local parish priest Fr Pat Moore said yesterday there are now over 20 masts, wires and antenna structures on the hilltop of Knockanore at the confluence of three parishes - Ballydonoghue, Ballylongford and Ballybunion. "I began to wonder if it was like sticking your head into a microwave," Fr Moore said. There has been a traditioin of an Easter dawn Mass on the hilltop with the lighting of a paschal fire for the last 15 years. In 1929 the hill - its name derives from the Irish cnoc an fomhair or autumn hill - was one of a string of hills along the west coast where fires were lit to announce Catholic Emancipation. At 268m (879ft) high, Knockanore is a landmark and was always special in that part of north Kerry, partly because no one parish could claim it, Fr Moore, who is parish priest of Duagh, explained. When Fr Moore revived the dawn Mass some 15 years ago, there was just one antenna structure on the hill to guide aircraft into Shannon airport. The Mass started with a turf fire. Local musicians and choirs sang at the bottom of the hill. Fr Moore recalled yesterday that the congregation descended with a sunflower seed and a candle, to symbolise light and new life. He said it had become a social occasion and people went to each other's houses to breakfast together on Easter Sunday. The 6 am Mass had grown in popularity and last year there were over 1,000 on the hilltop and many more who were forced to remain lower down, despite its early start. The masts and "the jungle of wire" on the hill had crowded the people out, Fr Moore said. The popularity of the dawn Mass showed there was a hunger in people for a higher vision, he added. Local Sinn Fein councillor Robert Beasley said there had been concern locally. Knockanore was a landmark in the area. He said people accepted the mast which directed planes to Shannon airport, but the number of antennae, wires, and other poles had grown in recent years.

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