Continuous Worship at Ballintubber Abbey

Continuous Worship at Ballintubber Abbey

“A Legacy of Unbroken Worship: Ballintubber Abbey”



Ballintubber Abbey stands as a testament to unwavering faith and an unbroken tradition of worship. Since its founding in 1216, the Mass has been celebrated here without interruption. This enduring devotion reflects the indomitable spirit of the Irish people, who persevered through trials of dungeons, fire, and sword to maintain their faith. Now, in an era of heated, air-conditioned churches, it is fitting to reflect on the sacrifices made by our ancestors in Baile tobair Phádraig—the townland of Patrick’s well.


A Legacy of Unbroken Worship:

For over 800 years, Ballintubber Abbey has been a place of continuous worship. This remarkable tradition has endured, even in the face of adversity and hardship.


Endurance Through the Ages:

The most enduring tradition at Ballintubber Abbey is the unbroken celebration of Mass. Since its inception in 1216, the Mass has been a constant presence in the Abbey. This remarkable continuity serves as a testament to the unwavering faith of the people.


A Heroic Struggle:

The Irish people’s commitment to their faith is exemplified by the story of Ballintubber Abbey. Over the course of 236 years, worshippers attended Mass in the unroofed Abbey, exposed to the harsh elements of cold, wind, and rain. This was not just a story passed down through generations; photographic evidence from 1865 vividly captures the congregation kneeling on the grass-covered ground.


A Glimpse into the Past:

In these photographs, we can see the priest having completed Mass, with vestments still laid out on the altar. But the service did not end there; the priest continued instructing the children, and the congregation remained on their knees, eagerly absorbing the word of God. It was a remarkable display of dedication in the face of physical discomfort.


A Reminder for Today:

In today’s world of comfortable, climate-controlled churches, it is essential to reflect on the sacrifices made by our forefathers and mothers. They endured hardships to practice the faith that Saint Patrick deeply rooted in this land. Their unwavering commitment to worship in even the harshest conditions serves as an enduring source of inspiration for us all.



Ballintubber Abbey’s continuous worship tradition, dating back to 1216, is a testament to the resilience and devotion of the Irish people. The enduring faith of those who knelt on grassy ground, exposed to the elements, reminds us of the sacrifices made to preserve the faith that Saint Patrick planted so deeply in this community. As we reflect on this legacy, we find inspiration and gratitude for the enduring spirit of faith that has defined Ballintubber Abbey for over eight centuries.