term "Paidrin Beag" literally means "Little Beads".
This Penal Rosary is a reminder of the single decade rosary that
was used in Ireland in the Penal days when it was illegal to be
Catholic and to openly practice the Faith. Praying the rosary could
result in fines, loss of property, imprisonment etc. To
pray the rosary in secret, the ring would be placed first on the
thumb and the beginning prayers and first decade would be prayed.
On completing the first decade, the ring would be moved to the first
finger, and so on for each decade.
the Faith can now be practiced openly, this Penal Rosary is a convenient
way to pray the beads, and a beautiful reminder of those courageous
Irish Catholics who kept and passed on the Faith in spite of adversity