Holy Island (Inis Cealtra)
West Ireland | County Clare
Holy Island (Inis Cealtra) is a small inland island located on Lough (lake) Derg, near Mountshannon Village in county Clare. The place is known because of located there ruins of monastic complex. The monastery was founded by St. Colum of Terryglass in 6th century. ln the mid-7th century, St. Caimin built a small church. The settlement was pillaged by the Vikings several times over the 9th and 10th century. Around the year 1000 AD a Round Tower (about 22.3m in height) and St. Caimín's Church were built. Another phase of expansion took place in the 12th century. The entrance of St. Caimín's Church was replaced with a romanesque doorway and a chancel was inserted between the antae of the east gable. At the same time another church was founded, St. Brigid's Church. The newest and also the largest building on the island - the St. Mary's Church was erected in the early 13th century. Located behind the St.Camin's Church, the Saints Graveyard has many interesting secrets. There are slabs with inscriptions in Irish dating from 11th century (or even older) and good few fine examples of Celtic crosses. Outside the walls of the graveyard, there is a confesional dating from before the 11th century (was used as a confessional during the 18th and 19th century, its original use is unknown). The site fell into decay in the 16th century but still was very popular among pilgrims and now is still a popular tourist attraction. You can get there by boat from the Mountshannon's pier. You have about 2 hours to explore island. Wear proper shoes because the landing place and first steps on the are very wet and muddy.