Holy Island / Inis Cealtra

Holy Island / Inis Cealtra

Step back in time with a visit to Holy Island or Inis Cealtra on Lough Derg – one of the most famous monastic sites in Ireland. Here you’ll discover fascinating ruins that bring to life a time when holy men lived in solitude and simplicity – hoping, in vain, to evade marauding Norsemen invaders.

The 50-acre island is dominated by a restored 80-foot tall round tower surrounded by the remains of several churches, early monastic cells, a Holy well and ancient graveyard with dozens of marked graves. Many bull‡un stones – rocks cut with deep hemispherical depressions – dot the island, and though their function is widely disputed, it’s clear they were associated with water, and date back to megalithic times.

Brian Borœ – a member of the Dalcassians who rose to the status of High King of Ireland and led the defeat of the Vikings at Clontarf in 1014 – is said to have been responsible for the building of the round tower and repairs to St. Caimin’s Church.

Marc‡n, the brother of Brian Borœ, was appointed the Bishop-Abbot of Inis Cealtra until his death in 1003AD.

St. Caimin’s Church is the chief building on the island, with a nave that may date back to the late 10th century. In the late 12th century a Romanesque doorway was added to the west wall. In the church interior there are also a great variety of crosses, monuments, gravestones and a sundial.


Facilities

  • Accessible by a Short Boat Trip from Mountshannon Pier

Distance

80.3 km from the Cliffs of Moher
Get Directions

Address

Lough Derg
Co. Clare
V94 V6H9


Contact

Phone: +353


One of Ireland’s most famous sights, the Cliffs of Moher are entirely vertical and the cliff edge is abrupt. On a clear day the views are tremendous, with the Aran Islands etched on the waters of Galway Bay. From the cliff edge you can just hear the booming far below as the waves crash and gnaw at the soft shale and sandstone.

With a due-west exposure, sunset is the best time to visit.

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