THE CATHOLIC PRESS, 16TH JANUARY, 1930
“THE ARK” IN IRELAND
Primitive Church in County Clare.
A primitive “church on wheels” is still preserved as a memorial of old times in a country church in County Clare, not far from Loop Head. In this region of small villages and scattered farms and cottages the parish priest, some 80 years ago found it impossible to obtain from the Protestant landlords even the smallest site for a church. He had a little wooden chapel made, very like the foreman’s hut one sees where a new road is being made or a building erected.
A shelf at one end provided a support for an alter stone. The door at the other end was opened wide when Mass was said. The hut was placed on four small wheels and moved round the district, now to one cross-road or roadside grass patch, now to another, for the Sunday Mass.
In the fine parish church long since erected, the hut that once was a movable chapel is kept on a raised platform in the aisle. It is locally known as “The Ark.” The beams that form the framework of its base show numerous marks of the knife, for emigrants starting for America, and later soldiers going to the Great War, took with them chips from “The Ark” as something like relics from the wooden chapel consecrated by so many Masses said in the old days, often to congregations kneeling in the mud and driving rain of a winter Sunday.