Mám Éan, otherwise known as Maumeen or Mamean, is a small pilgrimage spot at a pass through the Maumturk mountains in the Connemara region. Mám Éan, translated to ‘The Pass of the Birds’, is nestled between mountains with beautiful views all around and a quiet and peaceful atmosphere throughout.
In the remote location, only accessible by foot, you will find a tiny chapel, a mass altar, a holy well, a rock known as St. Patrick’s bed, a statue of St. Patrick and the Stations of the Cross scattered roughly around the rocky and boggy site. Two thousand years ago this site would have been an important Celtic shrine. The site was later claimed by the early Christian church and they turned it into a shrine dedicated to Saint Patrick.
Mám Éan would have been of great importance during the 17th and 18th Centuries when the “Penal Laws” outlawed the Catholic church in Ireland. As a result, the site would have been used as a secret outdoor church known as a “mass rock”, to allow Christians to celebrate mass which was forbidden.
After the repeal of the Penal Laws in the mid-19th Century, Mám Éan returned to being the destination of an annual pilgrimage. Today, where once there was an outdoor mass rock, a small chapel called “CiIIin Phédraig”, dedicated to St. Patrick, has been built.