There was great persecution in Ireland during the Penal Laws. No Catholic got any rights at all.
No Catholic could practise his or her religion. All priests were hunted but some of them waited at home. Those that remained in the country hid themselves in woods, caves and lonely places. They read Mass for the people in these lonely caves and hollows unknown to the soldiers. If these priests were caught they were put to death.
There was a man going around at this time and the people called him "Sean on sagort". He used to search for priests and if he found them he would cut their heads off and bring it to the soldiers and get five pounds for it.
There are no hiding places known around this district where a preist read Mass but there is one in Belclare and it is called "Clais an Aifreann."
This place must get its name from the old Penal times when
- Mr Patrick Freaney
- Ballynastuckaun, Co. Galway