Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holy Cross Dominican Priory, Tralee, Ireland

Holy Cross Dominican Priory is one of the Catholic churches in downtown Tralee, Ireland. We were in town on Sunday so we went to the 9:30 Mass. The building is on the main street into town (at least from our hostel) and is striking because it looks lopsided.

Holy Cross Dominican Priory, Tralee, Ireland

Detail of the door

The interior shows no sign of a larger left aisle than the right aisle, that might just be an illusion from outside.


The main altar has an altar rail where we received communion. That was a bit chaotic. People went forward for communion from different pews at different times. We couldn't perceive the order but we did eventually receive the Eucharist. Getting back was tricky since L didn't see the right pew and various people had already returned from communion, blocking the shortest paths back to our seats. It worked out okay.

Main altar

Stained glass glory

The church has many decorations dedicated to Dominican saints. The walls had several medallions painted on and several spots had statues.

St. Rose of Lima

St. Martin de Porres

St. Teresa (actually a Carmelite!)

St. Dominic with his dog!

Side altars are to Our Lady and to the Sacred Heart.

Lady Altar

Sacred Heart altar

I was a little surprised walking out of church to see the time--10:05! For a fairly full Sunday Mass that's very quick. The sermon was good but short and we sang no songs nor had the sign of peace. J and L were very well behaved, perhaps the quickness helped with that. Personally, I wonder if the fast Mass is due to habits from when Mass was legally forbidden in Ireland.

They didn't have tea and treats after Mass. We wandered around the downtown but found no coffee shops or bakeries open on Sunday morning. We had to go on our adventures with some chocolates bought from a newsstand. Oh well!

Who were the Dominicans in Tralee?
The Dominicans first came to Tralee in 1243 and they served the community for over 300 years. The suppression of the faith by Henry VIII's English government ended the first priory though individual Dominicans still served local Catholics in secret. At least one Dominican was executed for the crime of saying the Mass: Fr. Tadhg Moriarty was arrested, imprisoned, and executed in 1653. When the Faith was legal again, the Dominicans returned officially. That wasn't until 1861. The new church was completed by 1871, with only a few changes made after Vatican II.

A memorial statue has been erected in Tralee to the Dominicans who have served the locals faithfully for so many years.

Dominican Memorial in Tralee

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