Father Hegarty’s Rock

Father Hegarty’s Rock

BEHEADED MARTYR
Legend has it that when the Redcoats chopped off Father Hegarty’s head it bounced eight times along the top of the rock before dropping into the sea.
It is said that the marks of the bounce are still visible at Porthaw, a rocky promontory along the remote shores of Lough Swilly near Buncrana today.
Father James Hegarty, a native of Moville, purportedly had been conducting unlawful Catholic masses during the time of the penal laws when it was prohibited to do so.
In 1698, the British instated Penal Laws requiring all bishops, deans, vicars, friars and holymen to exit the country.
Should they return, a death sentence awaited them. Any secular priests were allowed to remain if they were registered, but a 1709 law forced an oath of abjuration upon any priest that did not want to leave the country.
Clergymen and their communities were subsequently forced to practice their faith in secret–a grave risk with a £5 reward for a priest’s head.
Opting to reject the anti- papalist law, Father Hegarty remained a parish priest in Fahan, Inishowen from 1704 until his death in 1711.
During the time, he lived in hiding in a small cave north-west of Buncrana along Lough Swilly.
Legend says that his sister would often pay secret visits to him and was the only family member who knew of his whereabouts.
When her husband, a rumored British-sympathiser, discovered Father Hegarty’s hiding place and was tempted by the lucrative £5 reward, he turned him in to the ‘Redcoats’.
When guards ambushed the fugitive priest during a mass, Father Hegarty fled to Lough Swilly on a horse that had been gifted him by local families and attempted to swim to the other side of the lough.
The guards tricked him into believing his life would be spared and persuaded him back on shore. Once on land, Father Hegarty was immediately beheaded.
Some say his head bounced eight or nine times off several rocks before landing, where the patches of land are said to show no signs of greenery since. His body was buried at the site of his death.
He is believed to have been the last priest to have been massacred under penal laws.
Another source of intrigue is that the rock itself bears a crack in the image of a cross.
The famous rock and the friar’s grave can be visited on the path of the shore walk between Porthaw and Stragill beaches, 2 kilometres from Buncrana.

28 thoughts on “Father Hegarty’s Rock

  1. Tamiflu says:

    Father Hegartys Rock can be found on the coastal path between Ned s Point Fort and Porthaw Beach. It commands a stunning view of the surrounding area .

  2. erotik izle says:

    Vielen Dank für die gute Berichterstattung. Es war in der Tat ein Vergnügungsbericht. Schauen Sie weit fortgeschritten, um von Ihnen angenehm hinzugefügt zu werden! Wie können wir übrigens kommunizieren? Micki Inness Amand

  3. filmkovasi says:

    I have been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this website. Thank you, I will try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your website? Natassia Mendel Ari

  4. bollywood says:

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your weblog? My blog site is in the very same niche as yours and my users would truly benefit from some of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this alright with you. Cheers! Shanta Skipper Glorianna

  5. watch says:

    I was just searching for this info for a while. After six hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your web site. I wonder what is the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this type of informative websites in top of the list. Usually the top web sites are full of garbage. Xylia Isaiah Hachmin

  6. filmkovasi says:

    Thanks for your whole work on this website. My niece takes pleasure in working on research and it is simple to grasp why. We all notice all relating to the powerful ways you render worthwhile tricks via your website and in addition recommend response from visitors on this subject matter while our own simple princess is undoubtedly studying so much. Take pleasure in the rest of the year. You have been performing a tremendous job. Georgena Filbert Gladdie

  7. bollywood says:

    I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays.. Kaitlyn Torrin Emmie

  8. erotik says:

    I will right away grab your rss feed as I can at find your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please allow me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks. Chery Parnell Tiff

  9. Devin says:

    I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him
    as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble.
    You are wonderful! Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *