Archaeology, Ireland

Ireland | 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.

 

 

 

To visit Inchagoill Island check out the Corrib Cruises website.  If you take the boat to the island let me know!  I’d love to know what you think of it ☺Marteen Lane (4)

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

68 thoughts on “Ireland | Inchagoill Island Photo Essay”

  1. 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!

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    1. 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.

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    1. 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?

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  2. 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!

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

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  3. 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.

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    1. 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.

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  4. 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!

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  5. 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.

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    1. 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! 😊

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    1. 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 😊

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    1. 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 😊

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      1. I was lucky enough to perform in Fordham University in the Bronx in 2011. I loved every second of NYC! Yes it’s very exciting! A new country, a new city 😊

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      2. I was with a gospel choir at the time so we were invited over to sing in the chapel of Fordham University. And it was St. Patrick’s week so we got to walk down 5th Avenue in the parade 😊

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    1. 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 😊

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  6. 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!

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    1. 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 😊

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  7. 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.

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    1. 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☺

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  8. 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.

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

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  9. Second oldest inscription is quite the title to hold. I’m not always one for museums, but I love to see and visit historical sites as they were (or what remains). There is definitely a quality that can’t be put into words with these ancient sites.

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  10. What an amazing place. I love to see and hear about the little nooks and crannies of the world that we might otherwise overlook in their travels. Now I want to go and see this for myself.

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  11. I can honestly say I have never heard of this place but I am absolutely intrigued by it’s rich sense of history. The ruins are beautiful and the bit of mystery surrounding the place makes me want to know more!

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  12. I love going to Ireland but to be honest, I have never head of Inchagoill Island until now and I have to say it has now intrigued me. What an interesting and cute place. I’m huge fan of ancient monastic ruins so this will definitely be on my list for next time that I am that way

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  13. I’ve never heard of this place before (not that I’m some kind of Ireland expert 🙂 ) – what a cool bit of history! We keep adding stops and activities to an as-yet unbooked “Irish roadtrip” so I’ll have to keep this one in mind!

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