A mass path is a pedestrian track or road connecting destinations frequently used by rural communities, traditionally leading to a church celebrating Sunday Mass. They were most common during the centuries that preceded motorised transportation in Western Europe, and in particular the British Isles, and the Netherlands (where such a path is called kerkenpad (lit. “church path”).

Ranaghan Westmeath mass path stile
Construction of a Ranaghan mass path stile

Mass paths typically included stretches crossing the fields of neighbouring farmers, and were likely to contain stiles when crossing fences or other boundaries; plank bridges were used to cross ditches.

Some mass paths are still used today in the Republic of Ireland,[1] but are usually subject to Ireland's complicated rights of way law.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ GoKerry.ie. "Derrynane Mass Path, Caherdaniel – GoKerry". Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  2. ^ Coillte trail including mass path; accessed 2010 Archived 29 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine.