Irish Penal Rosary, Gemstone Beads, Penal Crucifix


The Irish Penal rosary is a style of short rosary that came about during times of religious persecution in Ireland, when practicing the Catholic faith was a crime - even punishable by death. The devout developed this short rosary with a specially designed crucifix, which could be easily hidden up a sleeve or in a closed fist to escape detection.

The cross has short arms, much less likely to snag on a pocket or sleeve, which hangs at one end of the single-decade rosary. At the other end is a finger or thumb ring which had 2 purposes: it could be slipped over a finger to minimize the chance of dropping the rosary into view, and could also be moved from finger to finger to keep count of how many decades had been prayed.

For this compact rosary, I have used natural jasper beads reflecting the colors of the land in Ireland, from the grey mists to the green fields and forests to the rocky ground - some beads have splashes of dark red representing the blood spilled on the land during the difficult Penal Times.

Length: 24cm / 9.5 inches
Pewter ring: 2.5cm across / 1 inch
Crucifix: 5cm x 2.25cm / 2" x 0.9"
Beads: 8mm & 10mm round jasper gemstone beads.

The Irish Penal crucifix in this wee rosary is a reproduction of an antique crucifix used in Ireland. It has symbolic markings on the front and back which represent the nails used to crucify Christ, the spear that pierced his side, the empty tomb, the cock that crowed after Peter had denied Jesus 3 times, the pot into which Judas had dipped bread with Jesus before betraying him.

A nice rosary for personal use, which is compact so easy to carry in pocket or purse. It would make a thoughtful gift for anyone with an affinity for Ireland, and comes attractively packaged along with a card explaining the history of the rosary and cross.

Click here to see my
Celtic Collection



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