Inishmurray Island, Sligo

#10 of 17 in Historic Sites in Sligo
Island · Historic Site
Inishmurray is an uninhabited island situated 7km off the coast of County Sligo, Ireland.GeographyThe island covers.9km2.EtymologyInishmurray may be named after the early saint, Muiredach mac Echdach of Killala.HistoryThere are remains of an early Irish monastic settlement. Laisrén (Saint Molaise) Mac Decláin reputedly founded a monastery here in the 6th century. He was confessor of Saint Columba (Colmcille) after the Battle of Cúl Dreimhne on the mainland nearby. His feast day is the 12 August.The island's ecclesiastical settlement was attacked in 807 by the Vikings.MonasteryThe enclosure wall is impressive - reaching 4.5m in height at its highest point and up to 3m thick. The site contains various ecclesiastical buildings including enclosures, a stone-roofed oratory, two churches, a clochan, a large beehive-shaped cell, a holy well and other remains including cross slabs suggesting foreign influences. The whole complex is composed of what is probably local sandstone rubble.Recent historyThe local population peaked at just over 100 in the 1880s but the last residents moved out to the mainland on 12 November 1948. Some of the buildings are still visible including 15 houses and the island's school.The site remained a pilgrimage destination right up to recent times.Literature Jerry O'Sullivan and Tomas O Carragain: "Inishmurray: Monks and Pilgrims in an Atlantic Landscape", Collins, Cork, 2008, Aubrey Gwynn and R. N. Hadcock: Medieval Religious Houses Ireland. Longman, London, 1970,. Patrick Heraughty: Inishmurray: Ancient Monastic Island. O'Brien, Dublin, 1982,. Joe McGowan: Inishmurray: Island Voices, Aeolus Publications, 2004,. John Haywood: The Historical Atlas of the Celtic World, Thames & Hudson, 2009,. H.Th. De Booy: Het spook van Inish Murray . Deltos Elsevier, Amsterdam/Brussel 1971,.
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  • Sadly boat trips to Inishmurray Island are out of bounds presently for Health & Safety reasons of landing on the island.  more »
  • A beautiful but poignant reminder of Irish island life. Well worth a visit, especially on a clear day.  more »
  • Now a national park, a wild, ancient, beautiful deserted island.

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