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No Room at the Inn: Christmas Eve and Day masses in Portlaoise now fully booked

All of the masses scheduled for St Peter and Paul’s Church in Portlaoise on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are now fully booked.

Starting last weekend, all masses in the parish of Portlaoise went ticket only – albeit with no actual charge.

There are five masses planned for Christmas Eve and four on Christmas Day but all are now fully booked out.

While organisers say there is just limited availability for St Stephen’s Day and on Sunday December 27.

The parish church in Portlaoise would normally see over 10,000 people come through its doors between their Christmas eve and Christmas day masses.

In previous times, the church could accommodate about 1,600 people sitting down.

In this Coronavirus world, however, things are very different but every effort is being made to ensure as many people as possible can attend as safely as possible – with people asked to choose just one mass in order to allow as many attend as possible.

Previously there would have been seven Christmas mass times in Portlaoise. This year there will be 18.

In Ratheniska and The Heath, which are also in the parish, there will be three Christmas masses each compared to one in other years.

Ratheniska and The Heath’s attendance will be capped at 40 and 50 respectively while the size of the church in Portlaoise has meant that they have received confirmation that they can split the church into six different zones.

The number of people in each zone ranges from 22 to 42 with each zone having its own entrance and exit.

Since masses have been allowed to go ahead in recent weeks, there has been a cap of 50 people allowed. Stewards have been on the door to try ensure that that number hasn’t been broken.

Mass goers are required to wear a mask in the church and to use hand sanitizer on entry and exit.

You can book your ticket online and will get an email confirmation. Those who aren’t computer savvy can ring the Portlaoise Parish Centre on 085 23161039 or 085 2125978 from 11am to 4pm, Monday to Thurday.

Portlaoise Christmas Mass Times

  • Sunday: 8.30am; 10am; 11.15am; 12.30pm
  • Christmas Eve: 10am; 12.30pm; 4.30pm; 6pm; 9pm
  • Christmas Day: 8.30am; 10am; 12.30pm;
  • December 26: 10am; 12noon (Polish Christmas Mass); 4.30pm; 6pm; 7.30pm
  • December 27: 8.30am; 10am; 11.15am; 12.30pm

The Heath – 9.30am every Sunday and Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and December 27

Ratheniska – 10am every Sunday and Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and December 27

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.