The Marian Grotto
1954 being a Marian Year, the local guild of Muintir na Tire decided to erect a Lourdes Grotto to honour the occasion.
After much deliberation regarding location it was decided to erect it at Gurrane Cross, since called Grotto Cross. Great care was taken to make it as true a replica of Lourdes as possible and so we worked from a very good photograph.
The first task was to get suitable stone and after many searches in vain we discovered it quite accidentally. On a trip to Ross Castle, Killarney, Patsy Coghlan when playing around at the rear of the old Castle stuck her foot in a hole between two big stones. To release her one stone had to be removed and this opened up a big pile of loose stones or rocks, which seemed to be most suitable for our purpose. Having got permission from Lord Kenmare we drew two big lorry loads of stone to the site. The stone is limestone over which the waters of the lake once flowed.
The whole work was done by voluntary labour groups of men who turned up in rotation evening after evening until the job was finished in October 1954. A good many hours of labour were put in as many tons of stone and cement to prop it at the back. Canon Sears showed us how to make the cave and the niche for the statue. We built up a heap of turf (peat) the shape of the cave and then built on it with stone and cement. When it was set properly we easily withdrew the turf.
It was officially blessed and opened with the Rosary by Frs. Sears and O’Leary on 24th October 1964.
Among the great numbers who took part in the construction were Fr. O’Leary C.C. (overseer), John Moriarty, John Foley,
Dan Clifford (R.I.P.) Peter Coghlan, Myles Sweeney, Michael Coffey (Coolmagort) R.I.P. Mick Shea (Dunloe R.I.P.) Jamsey Sullivan,
Jack Connor (R.I.P. Beaufort),Pat Falvey and several others whose names I cannot recall. People from every part of the parish came to give a hand.
The Grotto was flood lit in 1963 and the first torch-light Procession to the Grotto took place on the 11th of February 1957. About 500 people took part converging on all three roads leading to the Grotto. Fr. Sears said the Rosary.
On the 18th February another Procession took place about 800 taking part. Fr. O’Leary said the Rosary.
7th October, 1960 another Procession took place – a big crowd attended.