This year the parish of Gurteen and surrounding areas celebrated dawn mass in Cloonkeenkerrill cemetry. Hundreds of people from near and far wrapped up well in coats, hats and fleeces gathered in the open-air for the Parish’s first ever 6am Easter morning mass. For some who attended they hadn’t too long in bed to recover from the Colemanstown 10k and after celebrations the day before. But this was an overwhelming and unforgettable spectacle in itself. The early morning cold air provided a fierce chill but by the time the morning tea, scones, and splendid array of food was served up the rays of the morning sun had thawed everyone out. The cemetery was beautifully prepared as lighted lanterns along the cemetery path greeted the congregation as they made their way towards the altar assembled at St. Kerrillls bed. These lanterns looked spectacular in the pre-dawn darkness. A paschal fire was alight beside the altar which was blessed by Fr. Raymond Sweeney and the congregation’s individual candles were lit from this. Fr. Sweeney together with John Joe Ward, cemetery caretaker, unveiled a newly erected celtic cross at St Kerrills bed which was generously donated by Rooney Monumental Works, Athenry. Maria McLoughlin played some tunes on the tin whistle in an Easter symbolic gesture. Thanks to those who prepared the cemetery and provided the beautiful food. It was truly a most special and unique Easter Sunday morning. Some photos of the event, courtesy of PJ Finnerty, can be viewed in the ‘gallery’ tab of this website.