Stones Journeys: Inis Cealtra Monastic Site

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Inis Cealtra is associated with several Irish saints of the 6th and 7th Centuries, most notably St. Caimin who founded a monastery here in the 7th Century. The 50-acre island's dominant feature is an 80 foot tall round tower. There are five churches on the island. The Vikings burned the monastery in 836 A.D. and again in 922 A.D. The Vikings were drawn by the wealth of the monastery and plundered it mercilessly, until defeated by the famous Irish chieftain Brian Boru who visited the island several times. The island was inhabited by a pre-christian community, as the ballaun stones show. The fertile 50 acres of land and the availability of stones for building primitive dwellings and forts as a protection from raiders, the island's position on the Shannon and its accessibility by water would have suited these early inhabitants. When the first Benedictine monks, St. Colum and his followers, founded the monastery in the 6th Century, they attracted a large band of followers which continued through the centuries. Students from afar sailed up the Shannon to be educated at Inis Cealtra, where its fame as a scholastic institution and place of learning was renowned particularly when St. Caimin was abbot.

Journey to Inis Cealtra Monastic Site

The Inis Cealtra Monastic Site is located on Lough Derg, the largest of the River Shannon's lakes. From the town of Mountshannon in County Clare, Ireland, located on the R352, a short boat ride from the harbor takes one to the island. Visited April 15, 2008

Map Reference: R6985

Visitors Information

Visitors information may be found at the website. General tourist information may be found on this site and at the Visit Clare website.

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