From Ireland With Love | Inchagoill Island Photo Essay

Inchagoill Island is a small island on Lough Corrib in Co. Galway. Inchagoill comes from the Irish ‘Inis an Ghaill’ meaning Island of the Stranger. This special island is home to a number of ancient monastic ruins, some of which date back to the 5th century. Teampall na Naoimh (Church of the Saints) and St. Patrick’s Church are two ruined churches on the island. Teampall na Naoimh dates back to 1180 and is believed to have been built by the Augustinian monks of Cong Abbey to pray and meditate in peace and quiet. The Church is built of sandstone and its decorative doorways reflect at least three different European cultures. The archway of the doorway is Romanesque in style and it depicts the ten heads of the ten saints of Lough Corrib. On the outer and inner tiers of the doorway, at shoulder height are heads with platted beards, believed to be of Greek influence while the centre tier display carvings of French design. Just inside the doorway on the right hand side is a Byzantine cross carved out on the wall.

The stone of Lugnad and St.Patrick’s church are situated quite close to each other. The 5th century inscription on the stone, which is still legible today reads “Lia Lugnaedon Macc Limenueh”. This is written in old Gaelic and translates as “The standing stone of Lugnad Son of Limanin”. It is believed that Limanin was St. Patrick’s sister, making Lugnad St. Patrick’s nephew. St Patrick and his nephew (who was also his navigator) came to Cong in the middle of the 5th Century to spread the Christian faith. The Pagan druids who were very powerful people at the time had St. Patrick and his nephew banished to Inchagoill Island. While building their church Lugnad died and was buried on the island. It is interesting to note that the stone has the shape of a boat’s rudder tying in with the theory that Lugnad was St. Patrick’s navigator. Many archaeologists claim that this inscription is the oldest Christian inscription in Europe apart from ones found in the Catacombs of Rome.

 

Need To Know

To get to Inchagoill Island you take a boat departing from Lisloughrey Pier, Cong, Co. Mayo at 3pm. The cruise lasts for 2 hours and includes a 40 minute visit to the island with a brief talk about the history of the island by Patrick Luskin of Corrib Cruises. The cruise operates from June to September and tickets cost €20 for adults, €10 for under 15s and under 5s go for free. Tickets can be purchased at the pier on the day, on Corrib Cruises website or at Rare And Recent Books in Cong village.

If you take the boat to the island let me know! I’d love to know what you think of it ☺

Marteen x

Let me take you on a journey through Ireland's ancient past with my Inchagoill Island Photo Essay.

57 comments

Add Yours
  1. Chantell

    This sounds like a real adventure! I haven’t been to Ireland yet but hope to get there in the next year. My Dad’s side of the family are all from Ireland (previous generations) so I feel a special connection to the country. I will definitely check this out when I am there. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marteen Lane

      No I’m afraid not as the island is owned by the state and the monuments are protected. But if you wanted to stay longer on the island you can hire a boat and a local guide to show you around 😊 While Corrib Cruises are the main tour company for the island, Derry Quay Lodge B&B mention on their website that they take people on a tour of the island if requested.

      Like

    • Marteen Lane

      It’s supposed to be the most famous of the islands on Lough Corrib but I don’t believe that. Maybe well-known with the locals and archaeologists who are interested in the stone but that would be it 😊 What did you think of Galway City?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Svet Dimitrov

    I always get the goosebumps while walking around places like this. So much history surrounds you and you are mesmerised to be a part of it. I bet learning Irish is quite hard judging by the names of these places.. Haha. Lovely post, thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marteen Lane

      Well that’s what some archaeologists claim. It is, there’s not much else to see on the island except for the ruins.

      Like

  3. thetravelpockets

    I haven’t been to Ireland, but this sounds like an interesting place to visit. Hopefully the ride is smooth, since I get sea sick very easily.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marteen Lane

      The day I was out it was smooth, but if the weather is too bad and the lake too choppy Corrib Cruises won’t take people out on the boat.

      Like

  4. Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad

    What amazing history! So cool to see all the threads from Europe tying together. Also the ruins are beautiful, so that helps. What a great place to visit, I really wish I could!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Gina Bear

    This is fantastic! I loved the pictures. I’ve always been fascinated by the history of Europe and I love getting a glimpse into the way people of the past lived. I also liked how you show how to get there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marteen Lane

      Thank you 😊 This is local to me and we tend to forget about what’s on our own doorstep. As a tour guide I always enjoy trips like this. Do! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      Thank you Anshula 😊 As a tour guide and a Heritage Studies graduate, the history of a place is important to me and as you said it makes a place come to life 😊

      Like

    • Marteen Lane

      Being from Ireland I’m ashamed to say I haven’t been to Glendalough. I’m not sure if I’ll get the chance to before I move to Canada but I’ve heard that it’s amazing and I’ve seen pics and it does look spectacular 😊

      Like

    • Marteen Lane

      If you do decide to visit the island, pop in and say hello to me in The Quiet Man Museum in Cong. The museum is only a few minutes drive from where you get the boat to go to the island. Oh I know, 5 days isn’t enough to see everything! You’ll have to come back again 😊

      Like

  6. Bailey K.

    Wow, this is so interesting. I don’t know much about St. Patrick, so this is very cool to me. My husband would absolutely love this; he loves history so much. We’re going to Ireland next year – maybe we’ll visit Inchagoill Island!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marteen Lane

      He’s a bit of a mysterious figure as some historians and archaeologists claim he never existed. Oh I hope you’ll enjoy your time here in Ireland when you do visit 😊

      Like

  7. Stella @ Travelerette

    I love those old designs and inscriptions! I’ve been very interested in Irish monasteries since seeing The Secret of Kells, of course. County Galway is number one on my list of places in Ireland I’d like to visit the next time I go, so I’ll remember this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marteen Lane

      Well you’ll love Cong Abbey then Stella, which is only a few minutes drive from the piers where you get the boat to the island☺

      Like

  8. Lara Dunning

    This sounds like a very worthwhile tour and an important part of Irish history. I wish I had known about this when I backpacked through Ireland years ago. If I get a chance to go back, I’m putting this on my list.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marteen Lane

      I couldn’t have put it better myself. There is something beautiful about history and it’s wonderful to see these old relics preserved 😊

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s