Ceileabhradh uaIm-se, d'Arainn,
St. Columbkill.
Taylor's hill, near Galway,
August 3rd 1839.

Dear Sir,

I now come to treat of the islands (of Aaron), the most interesting of (all) the islands I have yet visited; but I cannot spare time lo translate the documenls in connection with them or go into anything like detail. I shall confine myself to the description of the pagan and Christian remains which should be shewn on the Ordnance Map with such remarks on the age and history of each as will occur to me as I proceed. The translation and proper elucidation of the ancient Irish poems relating to the early history of these islands can only be made in Dublin, where the old Glossaries and other expositors of the old language in which they are written, are to be had. For this and other weighty reasons I shall forbear entering into the history of the different tribes Of the Firbolgs who established themselves in these islands during lhe early period of Irish history.

Situation. The three islands of Aran, which constitute one parish and half a barony are situated at the mouth of the bay of Galway about 28 Irish miles to the west of the town. They lie in a straight line in a north-west and south-east direction.

Name. Augustin Mac Raidin, Canon of the island of Saints in Lough Ree in the Shannon gives us the following derivation of the name of this is]and in his life of St. Endeus written about the year 1390:

Haec Insula dicta Arann .i. ren in Latino quia ad simili-


tudinem renis in animali se habet; qui in medio est angusta et in extremitatibus est grossa, i.e. This island is called Arann i.e. (ren) {kidney} in Latin because it has itself {i.e. it is} like a kidney in an animal, because in the middle it is narrow and in the extremities it is gross.

Acta SS. p. 706, col I, c. 9

On this passage Colgan has written the following note:

Haec insula dicta Arann .i. ren in latino, C. 9. Rectíus Ara .i. ren dicta. Nam vox Hibernica renem denotans in casu recto dicitur Ara, et in casu gignendi sive secundo Arann. Unde vulgo haec insula Ara na naomh .i. Ara Sanctorum a multitudine sanctorum, quae in ea olim tempore Sancti Endei et successorum vixerunt, appellatur. Jacet in oceano, inter extremes Conaciae et Tuamoniae fines ad provinciam Conaciae hodie et jurisdictionem spiritualem Archiepiscopi Tuamensis spectans, licet olim ad jura regum Momoniae spectasse haec vita et vita S. Albei indicent. Sunt autem tres insulae cognomines; plenae cellis, sacris sanctorum exuviis et tumulis vicinae, et oceano interluente divisae; et singulis Ara nomen est.

This island is called Arann, i.e. ren in latin. More correctly called Ara; for the Irish word signifying ren, a kidney, is in the rectus casus made Ara, and in the Genitive or second case Arann*. Hence this island is called Ara na naomh i.e. Ara of the saints, from the multitude of saints who lived


on it formerly in the time of St. Endeus and his successors. It lies in the ocean between the extreme boundaries of Connaught and Thomond, belonging at the present day to the province of Connaught and the spiritual jurisdiction of the archbishop of Tuam, although (that) it formerly belonged to the rights of the kings of Munster this life and the life of St. Albeus indicate. There are three islands of the same name {all} containing many churches, and the sacred remains and tombs of saints. They lie adjacent to each other but are separated by the ocean, which flows between them. Ara is the name of each.

Acta SS. p. 710, Col 2, note 18.

* [In left-hand margin:] See Cormac's Glossary in Voce Airther where the three Islands of Aran and their distinguishing epithets are given.

On this note Of Colgan I have to remark that I do not believe that the Middle island and South island were ever called Ara, for if so, and if the name Ara means Ren or kidney, it is not applicable whereas it is not inapplicable to the Great island, nor to the larger of the North Aran islands off the coast of Donegal. See my letter on these islands written at Dunglow. Martin in his Description of the western Islands of Scotland gives the following ridiculous derivations of the name of the Arran island belonging to that Country.

The name of this isle is by some derived from Arran {recte Arán} which in the Irish language signifies Bread; others think


it comes more probably from Arin or Arfyn, which in their language is as much as the place of the Giant Fin Mac Coul's slaughter or execution; for Aar signifies slaughter, and so they will have Arin only the contraction of Airin or Finn; the received tradition of the great giant Fin Mac Cowl's Military valour, which he exercised upon the natives here, seems to favour this conjecture; this they say is evident from the many stones set up in divers places of the isle, as Monuments upon the graves of persons of note that were killed in battle.

This derivation is as good as that given in Inishowen of Malin, viz Mala Fhinn i.e. Finn's bag!

The next derivation is that offered by Vallancey, which is not worth attention; and the latest is the arbitrary guess of John T. O'Flaherty A.B., who, in his sketch of the History and Anliquities of the islands of Aran has collected that Aran means lofly or mountainous in the Gaelic, because several mountains in Ireland, Scolland, and Wales are so-called.

As I have some years since remarked in speaking of the north Isles of Aran off the coasl of Donegal, unless Augustine Magraidin's derivation be correct, I do not know what to make of it unless indeed, that, as it is a very ancient name, it may have been called after Aaron the brother of Moses! But as the Nominative form is Ara, and the Gen: Arann or Airne and the Dat: or Oblique Arainn, I fear that to derive


it from Aaron, the brother of Moses, would now be considered visionary. The same reason knocks Martin's (two) traditional derivations completely on the head, and John O'Flaherty's must be received with great suspicion till he or some body else shews where the hills or mountains are in Ireland that bear the name Ara. Neither is it probable that the name is derived from ár - tillage or the Latin verb aro, to plough, because nothing can be produced to prove that the ancient Irish, who, according to Pynnar and other English writers, ploughed by the taile, were ever able to conslruct such ploughs as would plow fields of stone, although it must be acknowledged that it is a constant tradition in Ireland that Mo Ghob artifex, commonly known by the name of "the Gobbaun Saer", constructed a plough which plowed the fields without being dragged by the tailes of horses or by any other force, being propelled by its own mechanical construction. Unless, therefore, the monk's derivation of this name be correct, and none so ancient or so respectable has been yet produced, the meaning of this name must remain as uncertain as many of those of the same antiquity are now and will be for ever.



I shall first transcribe what the learned and acute O'Flaherly wrote on these islands in 1684, and then proceed to describe the remains on them according to the order of lheir antiquity

The three isles of Arran half Barony extending in length from East to west have the Barony of Moycullen on the north, Moyclea in Corcomroe Barony and County of Clare on the East, and the cape of Kerry head far off in sight stretched out in the sea on the south. They are fenced on the south side with very high cliffs, some three score, some four score and five score fathoms(a) deep against the western ocean's approach.

The soil is almost paved over with stones, so as in some places nothing is to be seen but large stones with wide openings between them where cattle break their legs. Scarce any other stones there but lime stones and marble fit for tombstones, chimney mantle trees and high crosses. Among these stones is very sweet pasture so that beef and mutton are better and earlier in season here than elsewhere; and of late there is plenty of cheese & tillage.


(a) The height of the cliff at Dun Aengus is 302 feet.


Mucking ({.i. manuring}) and corn is the same with the seaside tract. On the shore grows samphire(b) in plenty, ringroot or seaholly(c) and sea cabbage. Here are Cornish Choughs with red legs and bills. Here are ayries (i.e. nests) of hawks and birds which never fly save over the sea, and therefore are used to be eaten on fasting days, to catch which people go down with ropes tied about them into the caves of cliffs in the night,(d) and with a candle light kill abundance of them. Here are several wells and pools, yet in extraordinary dry weather people must turn their cattle out of the islands, and the corn fails.

They have no fuel but cow dung(e) dried with the sun, unless they bring turf in from the western continent.


(b) The (present) inhabitants of Aran send Samphire to Dublin, JO'D.

- Half-way down
Hangs one that gathers Samphire: dreadful trade!
Methinks he seems no bigger than his head.

[Shakespeare, King Lear]

(c) Cuilleann tragha in Irish. It is used as a medicine by the islanders.

(d) See a similar account of the manner in which the inhabitants of the islands of St. Kilda go down the cliffs to catch birds and get eggs, in Martin's account of that Island, p. 105.


They have cloghans,(f) a kind of buildings of stones (laid one upon another) which are brought to a roof without any manner (.i. kind) of mortar to cement them; some of which cabins will hold forty men on their floor; so ancient that nobody knows how long ago any of them were (was) made. Scarcity of wood and stone of fit stones [sic] without peradventure (.i. procul dubio) found out the first invention.

There is a west island on the South (recté north) west called Ilan na (da) branoge,(g) where they go to slaughter seals yearly, and where there is abundance of Samphire.

From the Isles of Aran and the west Continent often appears visible that inchanted island called O'Brassil, and in Irish Beg Ara(h) or the lesser Aran, set down in carts (.i. charts) of navigation, whether it be real


(e) [Referred to on MS p. 179] You could see stacks of dried Cow-dung (bóithreám) (thatched) on the Middle island. They now however generally carry turf from the north shore.

(f) For a description of one of these Cloghauns See p. ? See also letter on High Island belonging to the parish of Omey, and the one about Inish-Gluairé off the coast of Erris in Mayo.

(g) Now always called Oileán dá Bhranóg in Irish and Brannock or Brannoge island in English. It lies off the T.L. of Onaght at the west extremity of the Great Island.

(h) They tell stories about this island still. See Mayo Extracts for more stories about it. The Aranites now call it New Aran.


and firm land kept hidden by the special ordinance of God or the terrestrial Paradise or else some illusion of airy clouds appearing on the surface of the sea, or the craft of evil spirits is more than our judgments can sound out. There is westward of Arran in sight of the next continent of Ballynahinshy barony Skerd(i) a wild island of huge rocks, the receptacle of a deal of seals thereon yearly slaughtered. These rocks sometimes appear to be a great city far off, full of houses, castles, towns, chimneys, sometimes full of blasing flames, smoke and people running to and fro; another day you would see nothing but a number of ships with their sails and riggings; then so many great stakes (stacks) or reeks (ricks) of corn and turf, and this not only on fair sun-shining days, whereby it might be thought the reflections of the Sunbeams or the vapours arising about it, had been the cause, but also on dark and cloudy days happening. There is another like


(i) Now the Skerd rocks lying in the ocean due west of Casheen Bay and about 9 miles N.W. of the western extremity of Aranmore. Those optical delusions are not much talked of now, because the romance of former days is fast disappearing.


number of Rocks called Carrigmeacan(j) on the same Coast, whereon the like apparitions are seen. But the enchanted island of O'Brazil is not always visible as those Rocks, nor those Rocks have always those apparitions.

There is now living Murrough O'Ley,(k) who imagines he was himself personally in O'Brazil for two days, and saw out of it the Isles of Arran, Golamhead, Iross beg hill, and other places of the western continent he was acquainted with. The manner of it he relates that being in Irros-Ainhagh in the South side of the Barony of Ballynahinshy, about nine leagues from Galway by sea, in the month of April Anno Domini 1668, going alone from


(j) Now Carrickmackan near the mouth of Casheen Bay and (nearly) due north of the Brannock isles off the western extremity of Aranmore.

(k) This story is still told. Some few generations ago the crew of a (fishing) boat passing an island (which) they did not know, landed thereon to refresh themselves. They had no sooner landed than a man appeared and told them they had no business there as the island was enchanted. They therefore immediately returned to their boat, but as they were going away the islander gave one of them a book with directions not to look into it for seven years. He complied with this request, and when he opened and read the book he was able to practise surgery and physic with great success. This man's name was Lee, and the book got from the enchanted man in O'Brazil or New Aran remained as an heir- Continued on page 183.


one village to another in a melancholy humour upon some discontent of his wife, he was encountered by two or three strangers, and forcibly carried by boat into O'Brazil as such as were within it told him, and they could speak both English and Irish; he was ferried out hoodwinked in a boat as he imagines till he was left on the sea side by Galway, where he lay in a friend's house for some days after being very desperately ill, and knows not how he came to Galway there. But by that means(l), about seven or eight years after he began to practice both Chirurgery and physic, and so continues ever since to practice, tho' he never studied or either all his lifetime before, as we all, that know him since he was a boy, can aver.


Resumed from page 182. loom with (in) his descendants until some 20 months since, when it was purchased by a bookseller in Dublin. It is believed that it is written in Irish or Latin.

(l) Here O'Flaherty's version of the story is lame and defective, for "by that means" affords no explanation of the manner in which the quack obtained his Medical information, but the introduction of the Medical book makes the story perfect. The truth seems to have been this, that Lee, who got this book from some of his relatives who were hereditary physicians, and taking it in head to turn quack forged.


In the western ocean five or six leagues from the continent there is a sandbank about 30 fathoms deep in the sea, and by a very small breadth, which extends from Ulster to Munster, all along the western coasts of Connaught: It is called in Irish Imaire-boy,(m) or the yellow ridge, and in English the Codfishing bank, where people in the summer season used to go in boats a-fishing from Bofin, the Owles (.i. Umallia), Irros-Downan, and some parts of the barony of Ballynahinshy, and are there in their boats over night. From this bank about 20 years ago, a boat out of the Owles was blown southward by night, next day about noon they spyed land so near them that they could see sheep within it, and yet durst not for fear of illusions touch shore, imagining it was O'Brazil, and they were two days coming back towards home. So much of the inchanted island; whence we come back again to Arran.

The islands of Arran are famous for the numerous multitude of saints there living of old and interred on them trained in religious austerity and propagating monastic discipline in other parts; venerable for many sacred churches, chappells, wells, crosses, sepulchres and other holy reliques of Saints still there extant as monuments of their piety, reverenced


(m) I suppose this cannot be shewn on the Ordnance Map.


for many rare privileges of sacred places therein, and the instant divine punishments inflicted on such as dare violate or prophane; frequently visited by Christians in pilgrimage for devotion, acts of penance and miraculous virtues there wrought.

Ara mhor,(n) the greatest and furthest west of these, contains 24 quarters of land and is 24 miles in compass, wherein on the south side stands Dun Engus,(o) a large fortified place on the brim of a high cliff a hundred fathoms deep; being a great wall of bare stones without any mortar, in compass as big as a large Castle-bawn with several long stones on the outside erected slopewise against any assaults. It is named of Engus Mac Uathmore of the reliques of the Bolgmen in Ireland there living about the birth time of Christ. On the east side thereof the island is so low that about the year 1640 upon an extraordinary inundation, the sea overflowing that bank went across over the island to the north-west.(p)


(n) Colgan is entirely wrong in his description of this island, see p. [?]

(o) For a description of Dun-Engus see page [?]

(p) This (inundation) is still traditionally remembered.


The king's Castle and Manner (manor) of Arkin(q) stood on the north side over the ship harbour; for the service of which Castle all the patents in capite of West Connaught granted by Queen Elizabeth and King James were held, in place whereof now stands a citadel, in the Usurper Cromwell's time erected.

This island was inhabited by Infidells ({.i. Pagans}) out of Corcomro, {the next adjacent country in the County of Clare} when St. Enna got it by donation of Engus king of Munster, anno Christi circiter 480 {Ware Antiq: p. 249} who then laid the first foundation of piety and sowed that small grain of mustard seed, which so encreased that this Island was called Ara Sanctorum {Math. 13, 31} whereunto may be applied the prophecy of Isaias. In cubilibus, in quibus priûs dracones habitabant, orietur viror Calami et junci. Et erit ibi semita et via, et via sacra vocabitur. Isaiae 35, 7.

The author of St. Kieran, {first abbot of Cluain-mac nois, anno 549 deceased,} his life thus expresses the infinite number of Saints in that island in his own time. In quâ multitudo Sanctorum


(q) See an account of this on page [?] In an inquisition taken in the reign of James I, the half Barony of Aran is called after this Castle. "The half Barony of Arkyn containing the Isles of Arren consisting of 36 quarters", &c.


Virorum manet et innumerabiles Sancti omnibus incogniti nisi soli Deo omnipotenti, ibi jacent. The like expression is to be found in Albeus, Bishop of Imly, his life, thus: Magna est illa insula et est terra Sanctorhun qui nemo scit numerum Sanctorum qui sepulti sunt ibi nisi solos Deus.

St. Enna, son of Conall Dearg of the noble Orgiellian family in Ulster, and brother in law by his sister to King Engus of Munster aforesaid, followed the evangelical precept of forsaking a rich patrimony for Christ and his merits; brought him to be abbot beyond seas in Italy before he came with 150 religious persons to Aran, where he lived to his decrepid age upwards of 58 years: For St. Kieran aforesaid lived 9 years under his discipline and left Anno 538 {Ussher in Indice Chronolog:}. His successor abbots of Arran continued, as I suppose, to the time of ({the}) suppression of abbeys, the last of whom I find recorded was Donatus O'Leyn, abbot of Arran Anno Di. 1400.

The memory of St. Gregory the Great kept in this island was doubtless become much reverend of old in Ireland and honoured with the title of Golden Mouth as Cumianus writes in his letter anno circiter 634 {Ussher loco cit: et in Sylloge Epist: p. 31}. Ad Gregorii, Papae Urbis Romae Episcopi a nobis in commune


suscepti et oris aurei appellatione donati verba me converti, by which name he is known to this day in Irish.

Giraldus Cambrensis {Topograph: Hib: dist 2: Cap: 6.} was misinformed to say that St. Brendan was chief patron of this island, {St. Brendan visited St. Enna here once passing to Kerry, and another time on his second adventure of navigation on the ocean} and that human carcasses need no burial in it, as free from putrefaction, which last was attributed to Innis-Gluaire on the sea of Irros-Downan, and (.i. but) there itself it is by experience found false. But what he alleges that it did not breed rats, and that those by chance thither transported they immediately died, I believe was true in his time, for that is the nature of all the rest of the territory except the districts of Galway town. It was held an ominous presage of the following alteration that rats frequented Moycullen for one year ending in Lent 165½, at which time they all parted in one night after devouring a carcass of mutton to the bones. About the same time they infested the Castle of Bunowan for two years till it was all burnt 31st January 1652/3. In Irish they are called French mice (lucha Francacha), for there was a time when they were no-where in Ireland.


Near the Castle of Arkin was St. Enna's church and an abbey of St. Francis, both demolished for building the Citadel with their stones. So all devouring time!

Diruit, aedificat, mutat quadrata rotundis.

Not far from thence to the east remains a small chappell of St. Enna, where Sir Morogh O'Flaherty of Bonowan was buried Anno Domini 1666. {On} the outside of this chappell N.E. is the church-yard where anciently were 120 graves of saints, in one of which St. Enna was buried; where the stone laid over him is yet to be seen, together with divers other tomb stones still extant. Here numerous saints interred {as in other parts of the island} rest in peace till the day of "{the}" general Resurrection. There is on the east side of this island Port Doibhche i.e. Portus Dolii, mentioned in St. Enna's life {Cap. 16} now corruptly Port eiche; and in each of the other two other islands is Tracht-na-neach or Tracht each i.e. the horses shore, situated as ({described}) in his life {Cap. 15}. But Leamhchoill ({Cap. 14} where he is said to have first arrived in the (north side of the) island should be Ochoill, for) [it] is in the west Continent whence is a ferry (port) into the island, and Ochoill (recte Eochoill) in the island on the north side whereof hath a port for boats to arrive named from Ochoill, and another called Port Caradoc from St. Caradoc (.i. Cobharubhach) garbh to whom Killnanamanach [sic] church on the island is dedicated. Near


this port is the pool of Lough-na-ceanainne, whereof mention is made in St. Enna's life {C. 19, Col 2}. There is but a straight (.i. narrow) ship road between St. Gregory's Sound on the east of this island and Tracht each, or the horses's shore on the middle island.

But before I go farther I reflect upon an old saying I often heard, thus: Athenry was, Galway is, Arran will be the best of the three, which may be interpreted that Athenry was the creation of a Baron, and afterward the creation of Víscount of Galway was conferred on Rickard, Earl of Clanrickard, extinct with (.i. in) his son, the late Lord Marquiss, and now Arran hath the creation of an Earl.

I shall presently insert an abstract of Augusline Mac Raidin's Life of the nobly born St. Eany.



Colgan is entirely wrong in making the eastern island of Aran the largest and most remarkable, for the east island is by far the smallest of the three. This mistake is in all probabilily attribulable to some bad map. Let the the readers of Colgan reverse the map of those islands, which he must have done himself by some mistake, and then all is inlelligible, for his east Island agrees with the one which is now the most westerly. Perhaps the same force, which originally separated them from Munster, caused them to reverse their order since Colgan's time! But no; we have the authority Of Roderic O'Flaherty, who was 18 years of age when Colgan wrote, to prove that the islands of Aran were then in the same position in which they are now.

Prima autem et praecipua priscis scriptoribus Ara Oirthir .i. Ara orientalis appellatur; quia Continenti versus orientem propinquior; et vulgo Ara na naomh, id est Ara Sanctorum quia in eâ Sanctus Endeus decem construxit Coenobia, &c.

Acta SS. p. 714, Col. 2.

On this passage O'Flaherty observes: "Neither is the most Eastern the chiefest of the three Isles as he {Colganus} took it {21 March p. 714, c. 7} but rather the smallest".

To this may be added that there is no church of St. Enna's on the most eastern island.


It is an old written Irish tradition that Loch Lurgan, {which is still the Irish name of the Bay of Galway} was one of the three lakes found in Ireland by Partholan on his arrival from Greece 300 years after the flood. The oldest written authority hitherto discovered for this tradition is the poem beginning Adhamh, atair sruth ar sluagh, Adam, father, senior (progenitor) of our hosts, which some ascribe to Aengus Ceile De, the festilogist, and others to Aengus Roe O'Daly, who flourished about the year 1350

Ní uairiodar loch no linn
A n-erinn ar a g-cinn
Acht tri locha inradh gann
Ar deich srotha sean-abhann
Sloinnifed-sa go fír iad sin
Anmanna na d-tri sean loch sin:
Finn-loch irruis ucht glain,
Loch Lurgan, Loch Foirdreamhain
Laoi, Buas, (Banna) Bearbha buan,
Saimér, Sligheach, Modhorn, Muadh,
Fionn, Life a laighnibh go gleith
Is iad sin na sean-aibhne.
They found not lake nor pool
In Erin on their arrival
But three lakes of obscure fame
And ten streams of old rivers
I will name these truly
The names of these three old lakes
Finn-loch of Erris of bright bosom
Loch Lurgan {and} Loch-Foirdreaman
The Lee, the Bush, the Bann, the ever-flowing Barrow,
The Saweer {Erne hodie}, the Sligo, the Mourne & the Moy,

The Finn, the Liffey brightly flowing in Leinster
These are the seven ancient Rivers.

On these three lakes Roderic O'Flaherty has written as follows, in his Ogygia, p. 164.

Fordreman lacus est in Kierrigiâ juxta Traleiam, at Montem Mis. Finloch In Kearâ agri Mayonensis baroniâ quae olim ad Irras-Damnoniam spectasse videtur, jacet. Pro Loch Lurgan alterius Antiquarii poema habet Loch-lumny in Desmoniâ; sed iste lacus longo post tempore legitur prorupisse {Codex Lecan fol. 284} Loch Lurgan vero est sinus Maris spaciosus inter Tuamoniam et Westconactiam Galviae ad ostium, et ultra in ortum late porrectus; qui quondam fortasse firmâ terrâ a salo discretus, donec Occidentalis Oceanus confinia absorbens totum sui juris fecerit: claustrorum reliquiae videntur esse Arannae tres insulae, quae obrutu non faciles in medio profundo eminent, et editissimas praeruptas Crepidines decumanis fluctibus objiciunt; Superstes etiam in marino sinu lacus nomen a quibusdam longa traditione etiamnum Loch-lurgan, appellato.

Correct translation (Healy's is very bad)

Fordreman is a lough in Kerry near Tralee or (near) the Mountain Mis.(a)(a) Finloch (lies) in Carra, a barony in the County of Mayo, which appears to have formerly belonged to lrras-Damnon.


(a) i.e. Near Slieve Mish in the County of Kerry. Healy's translation runs as follows: Fordreman is a lough in Kerry near Tralee, or near the mountain of Mis-finloch, in Keara in the barony(!!) of Mayo!! Oh shade of Tytler!


Instead of Loch Lurgan, the poem of another antiquarian has Loch-lumny in Desmond; but we read that this lake burst forth a long time after this period. But Loch-lurgan is a spacious bay (.i. arm) of the sea between Thomond and West (or Iar) Connaught, (extending far and wide to) the mouth of the {river} Galway (Gaillimh(b) and beyond it to the east. This was probably in ancient times separated from the sea by firm land, until the western ocean destroying the confines united the entire with itself; the remains of the barriers seem to be the three islands of Arann, which not being easily overwhelmed, stand towering in the midst of the deep, and oppose(c) their lofty & rugged cliffs to the fury of the surges.* The name of the lake is moreover preserved in that of the Bay, which is to this day, through a long tradition, by some called Loch-Lurgan.(d)

*This idea is thus expressed in English by O'Flaherty himself: "They are fenced on the South side with very high cliffs against the western ocean's approach".


(b) That is, the Bay of Galway extends from the Islands of Aran as far (eastwards) as the mouth of the River Galway and ultra i.e. farther to the east; for it extends four miles farther, that is, as far to the east as Oranmore. Healy renders this passage in the following ridiculous manner: "Lough Lurgan though(!!) it is a spacious inlet of the sea between Thomond and West Connaught at the mouth of Galway; and extending a great distance to the east"!

(c) Healy renders this "and shew (objiciunt) their towering and craggy Summits (crepidines) by the reverberation of the surges"! Crepido does not mean summit but a cliff against which the sea beats:

Maris atrocitas objectu crepidinis frangitur.

(d) Healy translates this, "There is yet a lough, in an inlet of the sea, called also Loch Lurgan time immemorial". He must have been drunk!


This conjecture of O'Flaherty rests entirely upon the meaning of the word Loch, but as that word is found applied to arms of the sea in every part of Ireland, as Lough Swilly, Mulroy lough, Loch Garmann - no argument should be built upon it. It is possible that the islands of Arann were - at a very remote period - connected with COnnaught and Munster, but the name Loch Lurgan being applied to the Bay is no proof that this connection existed within the historical period, and the adaptation of (some of) the Cyclopean forts to the form of the Cliffs proves that the isles of Aran were (nearly) as lhey are now, at least two thousand years ago.

The early historical notices of the South Arann isles will be found in the Book of Lecan fol 277. and in Duald Mac Firbis's account of the Firbolgs. The summary of what is contained in these account(s] is briefly this, That as many of the Firbolgs as escaped from the battle of Moy-Turey ({fought Anno Mundi 2737}) fled to the islands of Aran, Ilea, Ragharee, and to the Hebrides and other islands of Scotland; that some fled to the isle of Mann and others to Britain, from which a colony of their descendants returned about the first Century of the Christian era (under the name of Clann Huamoir) and settled first in the plain of Meath under the King of Tara, where they did not remain long being unwilling to pay the exorbitant rents imposed upon them by the monarch; that they emigrated thence with their cattle and (other) possessions to Connaught where they sought the protection of Olioll


and Meave, who being relatives and friends of their race, received them with great kindness and gave them lands in Arann and along the sea in the west and south of Connaught, where they fortified themselves and gave the names of their chiefs to the lands they possessed and the forlresses they erected.

The places (situated in the west of Connaught) mentioned in these accounts as receiving their names from the Firbolgs are the following

  1. Dun-Aengusa in the Great Arann.
  2. Dun Conchobhair on Inishmaan.
  3. Loch Cime, now Lough Hackett near Headford.
  4. Rinn Tamhuin in Meadhraigh, now Tamhun point and village in Maaree parish.
  5. Loch Cutra now Lough Cooter near Gort.
  6. Rinn Beara, now Rinnbarrow point running into Lough Dergart in the Shannon in the south of the Counly of Galway.
  7. Muirbheach Mil, now Murbhach near Oranmore.
  8. Rinn Mhil, now Rinvile near Oranmore.
  9. Rinn Mhil now Rinvile near the Killery harbour.


The first pagan monument in point of strength, extent and importance, on the Great island of Aran is called Dun Aengus, a name now forgotten by all the inhabitants except one old man of the name Wiggins dwelling at Killeany. He, though not of the primitive Irish race but of a colony planted here by Cromwell, remembers that the old people were accustomed to call it Dun-Innees, which is the true Irish pronunciation according to the Connaught accent. All the other inhabitants style it Dun mor, and in English the Big Fort. The tradition that formerly exisled on Aran in connection with this fortress is now totally forgotten, but it was committed to writing by Roderic O'Flaherly in his Ogygia and (in his) MS. account of Ier-Connaught written for Sir W Petty in the year 1684. He thus speaks of it in his Ogygia p. 175.

De Clanna Huamoriis Aeneas et Conquovarus Paulo ante Salvatoris adventum sub Mauda Connactiae regina floruerunt, ab hoc Dun-Aengus ingens opus lapideum sine coemento tamen, quod decentas vaccas in areâ contineret supra altissimam maris crepidinem è vastae molis rupibus erectum adhuc extat in Arannâ Magnâ sinûs Galviensis insulâ, S. Endei incolatu, et Sanctorum multitudine postea


celebri: ab illo perpetua incolarum traditione Conquovari filii Huamorii Dunum nuncupatur alia similis maceries inde non procul ad ortum in Arannâ media insula.

Correct translation. Healy's is horrible!

Of the Clanna Huamor Aengus and Conquovar flourished a short time before the birth of Christ under Meave, Queen of Connaught. From the former (hoc) (.i. Aengus {is called}) Dun Aengus, a great stonework but without cement, (still extant) which would contain two hundred cows in its area, and which is built of stones of a vast size ("erected with cliffs of a stupendous magnitude"! Healy) over a very lofty cliff of the sea in the Great Aran, an island in the bay of Galway, celebrated for the residence of St. Enda and afterwards for a multitude of Saints; from the latter (illo),(a) according to the perpetual tradition of the natives, is named the Dun of Conquovar, another similar work (maceries)(b) situated on the middle island of Aran, not far from thence to the east.


(a) Hely was so ignorant of the construction of the Latin language that he did not know that hic was used to signify the former and ille the latter. He certainly had not common sense, or he was drunk while translating the Ogygia.

(b) Healy translates maceries in this sentence, a mound, and mistakes the construction altogether. This Hely was a Minister and A.B. of Trinity College. What a credit he was to Ireland, to Trinity College and to the church!!


And thus in his MS. account of Iar Connaught:

Ara mhor, the greatest and farthest west of these, contains 24 quarters of land and is 24 miles in Compass, wherein, on the south side stands Dun Engus, a large fortified place on the brim of a high cliff, a hundred(a)(a) fathoms deep, being a great wall of bare stones(b) without any mortar, in compass as big as a large Castle-Bawn(c) with several long stones on the outside, erected slopewise against any assaults. It is named of (i.e. from) Engus Mac Uathmore of the reliques of the Bolgmen in Ireland, there living about the birth-time of Christ; on the East side thereof the island is so low that about the year 1640, upon an extraordinary inundation the sea overflowing that bank went across over the island to the north-west.


(a) It is only 302 feet high above the level of the sea at high water.

(b) Here we have O'Flaherty's English for the Latin maceries (and other words), but his English description is much better though the language is not so dignified as the Latin.

(c) This description is too indistinct to convey a correct idea of the extent or characteristics of Dunengus. A description is worth nothing unless it can be perfect.


For this tradition O'Flaherty might have referred lo the authority of the Book of Lecan, fol 277 p. b. c. l, where it is distinctly stated that Dun Aengusa in Ara {Dún Aengusa a n-Áraind} is named after Aengus the son of Umor, who was the leader and king of the whole Colony. It is no wonder then that his Dun should be the most remarkable of all the Bolgic forts in Ireland.


John T. O'Flaherty in his ridiculous account of the islands of Aran, published in the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy in the year 1824, attempts a description of Dun Aengus from the data furnished in the Ogygia aided by his own imagination. In page 9 he says:

It further appears from our Annals that two chiefs, Aengus and Concovar of the Huamor Sept, possessed the Isles of Aran, in the time of Maud Queen of Connaught, whose reign was not long anterior to the Christian era. Of these chiefs there are still unequivocal memorials; one in the Great Isle of Aran called Dun-Aenguis, the fortification


of Angus; the other in the Middle Island (isle), traditionally called Dun-Concovair, the fortification of Concovar. These extraordinary remains of ancient military architecture shall be described hereafter.

From these words one would be inclined to believe that John T. O'Flaherty had actually seen Dun Aengus, and to anticipate a minute description of that great fortress; but when you come to read his description of it you find him like the mountain in labour.

Parturiunt montes nascetur ridiculus mus!

Dun-Aengus, the very ancient fortification already mentioned, stands on a great precipice hanging over the sea. It is extremely rude, being composed of large stones, roughly heaped on without cement of any kind. Within its area it may contain about 200 cattle. There is another dun much of a similar description. I have already given the history of both, so far as their extreme antiquity admitted; remnants more ancient in point of military architecture, are certainly not to be found throughout the British Isles, nor perhaps throughout Europe. The other duns (seen) here are of no note.

p. 59.


Here he merely repeats the words of lhe Ogygia, and adds a remark about which he knew nothing; for it appears from the works of modern Antiquarians that there are several remnants of Cyclopean fortresses on hills in Greece which were erected before (refined) civilization began in that early civilized Country, in which, long before the period of Queen Meave or the birth of Christ the three grand orders of architecture were in use.

- First unadorned
And nobly plain, the manly Doric rose;
The Ionic next, with decent matron grace,
Her airy pillar heav'd; luxuriant last
The rich Corinthian waved her wanton wreath
The whole so measured true, so lessened off,
By fine proportion that the marble pile
Formed to resist the still or stormy waste
Of rolling ages, light as fabrics looked,
Which from the magic wand aerial rise.
These were the wonders which illumined Greece
From end to end. -

[Capt. Edward Thomson, Liberty (1736)]

These styles were unquestionably used in Greece many centuries before the birth of Christ, and from this fact another very curious one can be drawn, (i.e.) that the Tuatha De Danann and Firbolg Colonies, who (according to lhe Irish histories) came hither from Greece


must have arrived before these orders were introduced into or invented in Greece. All the remains which written tradition ascribe to them are in the Cyclopean, and therefore they must have left Greece before the refined style of architecture prevailed there. And this in my mind should go very far towards fixing the periods at which those Colonies arrived in Ireland, for if the Doric or Corinthian pillars were used in Greece at the periods these Colonies migrated from it, they cerlainly would have attempted something similar to them in the Country in which they settled. But nothing of the kind is found in Ireland. These colonies must therefore have set out from Greece before refined civilization began there; for we cannot for a moment suppose that they could have lost every trace of their refined architecture (here); the utmosl lhat could be granted is that the style would in the course of some centuries become rude in a sequestered country.


Dun Aengusa {pronounced Doon Innees} is situated on the South side of the Great Island of Aran in the S.W. of the townland of Kilmurvy on the edge of a cliff which is 302 feet above the level of the sea. It is perhaps one of the finest specimens of barbaric fortresses in the world, but very much ruined. One third of the circle of its internal keep (seems to) have been destroyed by the falling in of the cliff, and the boys of the island are destroying the remaining part in rooting for rabbits which burrow in its walls. As it stands at present, it consists of three concentric walls, of which the central one is in a tolerable state of preservation, but the two outer ones are nearly destroyed excepting in spots here and there where their original thickness and style of masonry, and in some few instances, perhaps, their height remain. The central fort or keep is by far the most perfect and interesting part. It was originally of an oval form, but now only the two thirds of the oval remain, the Atlantic having, in the course of two thousand years, worn away the remaining part. It measures from north to south, i.e. from the northern point of the ring to the edge of the cliff 150 feet, and from west to east along the edge of the cliff 140 feet. When the oval was perfect it measured 225 in length from north to South, and that it was once a perfect oval will appear clear by a comparison of it with Dun-Conchobhair on the middle island, which measures 227 feet in length from North to South, and 115 feet from west to east. The wall of this keep of Dun-Aengus


is built of large and small stones, the large ones (being placed in the) face of it, and the small ones in the centre. This wall is made up of three distinct walls built up against each other, each well faced with stones of considerable size, so that if the external one were destroyed the central one would stand independently of it, and if the central division were destroyed, the interior division would stand without it. This shews how difficult it would have been (to demolish this fortress) at the remote (engineless) period when it was inhabited.

The grealest height of this wall at present is 18 feet. This is at the west side, where the original characteristics of the masonry appear. The internal division of the wall is here 3ft. 4 in. thick, the second or central division is 5ft. 0in. thick and the external division is 4ft. 5in. thick. Total thickness 12ft. 9in.

The two external divisions are here raised to the height of 18 feet, but the internal division is (at present) only 7 feet high; but it is probable that it was originally many feet higher though I think never so high as the two external parts as I find in all the other forts that the internal division is generally 4 feet lower than the other two, which are always carried to the same height.

The annexed ground plan will give an idea of the extent of the outer walls of this fortress, and of ils position over the cliff. [Added in pencil: It is faithfully set to a scale.]

Ground-Plan of Dun Aengus.
'Ground-Plan of Dun Aengus' (Wakeman).

[The above drawing of the 'Ground-Plan of Dun Aengus' continues into MS page 207.]


The doorway which led into this Keep is still nearly perfect. It is placed in the North east side facing the Aran Light House, which is situated on the highest point of the Island. It is nearly stopped up (on the inside) with stones which fell from the top of the wall, but I removed them on the outside down to the solid rock on which the wall is built and found the doorway to measure in height exactly 5 feet. It surprised me very much to find that this doorway does not slope like those of the Cyclopean forts in Greece (as described by Dodwell), or even like the Semicyclopean doorways of the primitive Irish churches. It is really not so gigantic or Cyclopic as the doorway of St. Mac Duagh's church at Kilmurvy. It is 3f. 4inch. in breadth at the top and 3f. 5inch at the bottom. The lintel is 5f. 10in. long, 1f. 1½in. in thickness and 11 inches in depth. This doorway is ([Added in pencil:] in the thickness of the wall) covered over-head with four stones laid horizontally across, the second rising 9 inches above the first, the third 6 inches above the second and the fourth 6 inches above the third, so that the doorway would be 21 inches higher on the inside than on the outside, were it not that the solid rock on which the wall is built rises in proportion, and it was to keep the doorway the same height through the whole thickness of the wall that lhe Cashellor was obliged to raise the stones (covering) the top One above (the other) in the manner described.


At this doorway the external part of the wall only remains perfect, measuring 4f. 5in. in thickness, and the other two divisions are nearly level with the area of the fort, bul immediately to the north and south of it, they are tolerably perfect.

In the N. West side of this ring, there is a passage leading from the inside into the thickness of the wall to the extent of 5f. 6inches measuring 2f. 9in. in width at the top, and 3f. 7in. from the bottom to the roof, where it is covered by large stones laid horizontally across. I should like lo resuscitate the spirits of Michen, Rigriu and Garbhan to ask them for what use this little chamber was built. Perhaps it was a bed? I would consider myself safer in it on the night of the "big storm" than in St. Kevin's Kitchen, unless indeed that I mighl dread being smothered by the spray (Cáitheadh) Fairge) of the Atlantic, which on that night passed over the whole island. Was this the Bed of King Aengus? No!

The following sketch will convey an idea of the masonry of this great wall.

Part of the inner wall at Dun Aengus taken from the east; wall about 2 feet to an inch.
[J.O'D.:] Maceriei specimen
'Part of the inner wall at Dun Aengus taken from the east; wall about 2 feet to an inch' (Wakeman).

Outside the internal Keep are the remains of a strong Cyclopean wall, which surrounds it at irregular dislances. Immediately to the west near the cliff it is within 28 feet of the wall of the keep; to the North and by west it is 32 feet from it, and to the N. West 42f. 6inches. To the north from the Keep this wall is in tolerable preservation, for here its original thickness and perhaps height remain. It is 6 feet thick and 12 feet high, and well faced inside and outside wilh stones of considerable size. It consists of two distinct walls one built up against the other, so that if the outer part were destroyed the inner part would stand firmly without it. A line drawn from this part of the wall to the doorway of the internal fort or keep measures 131 feet. In the N. East part of this external wall there is a doorway now much destroyed. It is 4ft 7inches. in width, and the wall is here 8ft. 2in. in thickness. A line drawn from this doorway to that of the internal fort or keep measures 235 feet. At the distance of a few feet to the east of this broken doorway this wall forms an angle from which a straight line drawn to the doorway of the keep measures 240 feet. From this angle the wall turns soulhwards towards the cliff, which is now very much destroyed. Its length from the angle above mentioned to the brink of the cliff is 176 feet.

Outside this second wall is placed a host of sharp stones slopewise, which to a mind as imaginative as that of Baron Swedenborg, would seem an army of Bolgians


who, (having been) placed here to guard the pagan fortress, were metamorphosed into tall stones by the Royal St. Endeus, whom (and whose satellites) they altempted to repulse as he was going to preach the truths of Chrislianity to the Toparch of Dun-Aengus. Here an army of stones present themselves; the army of the garrison (of Dun Aengus) in the various attitudes of fight, arrested in their progress and transformed into angry stones! Some in the proud majesty of defiance, some giving the charge, and some falling as if after receiving a death wound! To drop fables, some of these stones appear at a distance like soldiers making the onset, and (many of) them are so sharp that if one fell against them they would run him through. This army of slones would (appear to have been) intended by the Bolgae of Aran to answer the same purpose as the modern Cheveaux de Frise, Turnpike or Tourniquet, (now) generally used in making a retrenchment to stop cavalry; but these stones were never intended to keep off horses, as no horses could come near the place without "breaking their legs". They must have been therefore used for keeping off men, and very well adapted they are for this purpose, for a few men standing on the outer wall just described, could (by casting stones), kill hundreds of invaders while attempting to pass through this army of sharp stones.


This brings to my recollection an Observation of Martin's written in his account of the Island of St. Kilda p. 19, where he says:

There is a little old ruinous fort on the South part of the South East Bay, called the Down. It is evident from what has been already said that this place may be reckoned among the strongest forts {whether natural or artificial} in the World; Nature has provided the place with store of Ammunition for acting on the defensive; that is, a heap of loose stones in the top of the hill oterveaul, directly above the landing place; it is very easy to discharge volleys of this ammunition directly upon the place of landing, and that from a great height almost perpendicular; this I myself had occasion to demonstrate, having for my Diversion, put it in practice to the great satisfaction of the inhabitants to whom this defence never occurr'd hitherto. They are resolved to make use of this for the future, to keep off the Lowlanders, against whom of late they have conceived prejudices. A few hands may be capable of resisting some hundreds,


if the abovementioned weapons be but made use of.

This army of stones are (is) in some places 30 feet deep {in breadth} and extends all round (immediately outside) the second wall from cliff to cliff. They are (nearly) perfect on the west side, and also on the east, but on the North east many of them have been removed by the islanders to facilitate (the) passage to the sea.

Outside the second wall and between it and the Cheveaux de Frise there is another fragment of a wall, which seems never to have been carried around more than about the one tenth part of the ring. The part of it at present standing is 7f. 9in. in height and 6f. 0in. in thickness.

Outside the Cheveaux de Frise of stones there is another wall which encloses a great extent of ground, and runs from cliff lo cliff. A line drawn from the North (and by) west side of the second wall to this, passing thro' the Cheveaux de Frise, measures 129 feet, and a line drawn from the northern point of the same wall in a north west direction to an obtuse angle formed by this at the N-west point, measures 393 feet. This wall is here very much injured, but from what remains of it I have been able to ascertain that it was built exactly similar to the second wall already described, that is, formed


of two distinct divisions which would stand independently of each other. A line drawn from the broken doorway in the second wall already mentioned to the N. East point of this measures 434 feet. At this point I have been able to ascertain that the wall was 8feet. 0in. thick and well built, but the (original) height could not be inferred from any fragment of it now remaining. A line drawn from this point to the edge Of the cliff measures 586 feet, and a line drawn from the second wall at the edge of the cliff to the extremity of this (at the edge of the cliff also) measures 640 feet. At this side of the fort (outside this wall) the ground is low, but there is a remarkable elevation and unevenness of surface between it and the second wall and here the stone Cheveaux de Frise is very perfect. {See ground plan}

The pseudo-antiquary Ledwich stales positively that this great fortress was a monkish mandra or enclosure (for cattle!). To shew his (ignorance) barefaced effrontery, and disregard of (for) truth I shall here quote his words (as they stand in his own corrected copy) and shew how he attempted to blindfold his readers by concealing what he well knew to be the truth. He introduces the subject by giving Bede's description of a church built in England by an Irishman in the 7th century.

In 684 Cuthbert, an Irishman, and Bishop of Lindisfern, constructed an edifice of which Bede gives this(a)(a)


(a) Vita Cuthberti p. 243.

(b) This exactly corresponds with St. Molash's Cashel on Inishmurry and with St. Brendan's on Inish Gluaire off the coast of Erris, and with St. Fechin's on Ard Oileán near Omey.

(c) It is to be regretted that Bede does not here describe the form and extent of these houses. In Lib. 3, c. 25, he tells us that the Scots never built any churches of stone but of split oak. Speaking of a church built by St. Finian at Lindisfern he writes: "Quain more Scotorum non de lapide sed de robore secto totam composuit, atque arundine texit. Eadbertus ablatâ arundine plumbi laminis eam totam, hoc est et tectum et ipsos quoque parietes ejus cooperire curavit. [JOD]

(d) The style here is very bad: what he intended to say is this: Though the numbers here recited are not to be depended upon, they being exaggerated by enthusiastic admirers of monachism, still they must evidently have been very great, and this &c.

(e) Ingens opus lapideum sine coemento tamen, quod ducentas vaccas in area contineret, supra altissimam maris crepidinem è vastae malis rupibus erectum. O'Flah: Ogygia p. 175. Mac Pherson's Crit: Diss: p. 294. {Dun Aengus would contain 1050 cows within its area. See ground-plan. JO'D}


description. The building was round, four or five perches wide between wall and wall. The wall on the outside, was the height of a man, on the inside higher, so made by sinking of an huge rock, which was done to prevent the thoughts from rambling, by restraining the sight. The wall was neither of squared stone nor (or) brick or cemented with mortar but of rough unpolished stone,(b) with turf dug up in the middle of the place and banked on both sides of the stone all round. Some of the stones were so big that four men could hardly lift one. Within the walls he constructed two houses(c) and a chapel together with a room for common uses. Within the walls was a large house (.i. An teach n-Aoidheadh) to receive strangers, and near it a fountain of water.


The paroxy[s]m of zeal for the monastic profession alternately possessed the eastern and western world. Egypt about the end of the fourth century boasted of seventy six thousand monks and twenty one thousand nuns. In this Island in the seventh century, the age we are speaking of, St. Nathalus and St. Maidoc separately ruled one hundred and fifty monks, and St. Manchen and St. Monenna as many nuns. Three hundred monks obeyed St. Tehan; eight hundred and seventy six St. Carthag; a thousand St. Goban; a thousand five hundred St. Laserian; three hundred St. Brendan; three thousand St. Finian; as many St. Congel and St. Gerald; so that Bishop might well say the secular and Regular clergy were almost as numerous as men of every other denomination. In the little isle of Bute were twelve churches or chapels, and thirty hermitages; and in Uist and the other Hebrides, religious phrenzy equally extended her reign. Hence the Irish acquired a fondness for, and a propensity to monachism, which remarkably distinguished them through every age. Though the number of monks and nuns now recited is by no means to be depended on, yet(d) it suggested to their presidents the necessity of stone enclosures or closes, these in the east were called Mandrae.


The word originally imported simply a sheepfold, and was applied to those monastic buildings, wherein the Archimandrite presided over his disciples, as the Shepherd superintended his flock in the fold. There are many of these Mandrae dispersed over this kingdom hitherto unnoticed; one remarkable is Dun Aengus. This is in the greater isle of Arran on the Coast of Galway, situated on a high cliff over the sea and is a circle(e) of monstrous stones, without cement and capable of containing 200 cows. The tradition relative to it is that Aengus, King of Cashel, about 490, granted this isle, called Arran naomh or Arran of the saints to St. Enna or Endeus to build ten Churches on.


In order to make his readers believe that Dun Aengus corresponded with a Monkish Mandra he gives the foll annexed drawing of it, which is incorrect almost in every particular, being made up from his own imagination by W. Beauford, who, according to a MS. note found after Ledwich, was capable of any fabrication. In this sketch the wall is represented as perfect, {which it was not in Beauford's time} and (as raised to) about the height of a man to agree with Bedes's description of St. Cuthbert's Cashel at Lindisfern. A square wooden house of considerable height is shewn within the Dun and three smaller ones, but these did not exist in Beauford's time. A large tree is also shewn within the dun, and two crosses and a large tree in the foreground; but these never existed! The circle of the dun is represenled as perfect, which it was not these seven hundred years. Shame upon the Charlatan! So far Beauford imposed upon Ledwich; let us next see how far Ledwich imposed upon his readers (by distorting history): Reading the first note to St. Enna's life in Colgan {Acta SS. p. 710 Col 1} in which the Saint is called celeberrimus archimandrita, or most celebrated abbot, and hearing of the existence of Dun Aengus on the island of St. Enna,

Beauford's view of Dun Aengus, from Ledwich's 'Antiquities of Ireland'.
Beauford's view of Dun Aengus, from Ledwich's Antiquities of Ireland.

he at once jumped to the conclusion that the Saint's wooden church and houses were within it; and to make this appear he distorts the written tradition in connexion with Dun-Aengus: he quotes O'Flaherty's Ogygia for its existence and extent, but suppresses what it says of its history, and he quotes Archdall to prove that it was called after Aengus, King of Cashel, who granted the island to St. Enna about the year 490. (But) O'Flaherty slates in positive terms (in the passage which is partly quoted by Ledwich), that it was the constant tradition in Aran that Dun Aengus was called after Aengus Mac Umore, (one of the Belgic chieftains), who flourished under Meave, queen of Connaught, a short time before the birth of Christ; and Archdall does not say a word about Dun Aengus at all! (nor about any tradition connected with it) and even if he had what weight could his authority have? But unfortunately for Ledwich's Charlatanism St. Enna's monastery is 5½ Irish miles from Dun Aengus, and Dun Aengus had never a church nor wooden house within it. So much for Ledwich's Mandra! {Compare wilh Inishmurry, Inish-Gluaire and Ard-Oilean, where the Monastic Cashels are described} The kind of houses which were within Dun Aengus I shall have occasion to describe presently in treating of Dubh Chathair. They are all now (so) destroyed


that I could not obtain the measurements of any one of them. See, however, Dun-Eogannacht, Dun-Conchobhair and Dubh-Chathair from which a tolerably correct idea may be formed of the original form, extent and characteristics of Dun Aengus, and of the kind of houses which stood within it.

The only bronze antiquity remembered to have been found on this island, {with the exception of pins,} was found not many months ago in the interior of the wall of Dun Aengus, by boys who were rooting for rabbits. It was probably a fishing hook belonging to Aengus! It is 3¼ inches long and it (is) rivetted near the turn of the hook. Theannexed sketch is of the size of the original.

The fishing hook of Aengus.
'The fishing hook of Aengus.' (Wakeman).
This hook, now in Petrie Museum, R. I. Academy, believed by some to be a portion of a fibula.


([On an unnumbered page in the hand of Eugene O'Curry:] Eoganacht Ninuis, i.e. Eoganacth na n-Arann, a district anciently in Corcomroe. See the Wanderings of Maeldinn, in Leabhar-na-h-Uidhre. EC.)

Situation. This fort is situaled in the Townland of Eoghanacht which forms the western portion of the island. It is built on a rock, which, (forming a cliff) on the Norlh side affords it great protection.

Name. This fort is not noticed by Roderic O'Flaherty nor any other writer who has treated of the Islands of Aran. Its original name is lost, and the present it takes from the townland in which it is situated. This townland has derived its name from a Munster tribe who settled in it at an early period; but we have no historical monument to shew the exact year or even century. The only notice to be found in Irish history about the Eoghanact of Aran appears in that part of the Book of Lecan called the Book of Munster in which it is distinctly stated that there were seven tribes in Ireland and one in Scotland called Eoghanachts, i.e. descendants of Eoghan, son of Olioll Olum, King of Munster in the 3rd century. These were the Eoganachts of Aine in the now County of Limerick, the Eoganachts of Loch Lein, at Killarney, of whom O'Donoghoe was the chief, the Eoganachts of Cashel of whom O'Callaghan was chieftain; the Eoganacts of Raithlenn; the Eoganacht of Glenn Amhnach in the County of Cork, of whom O'Keeffe was the Senior; the Eoganachts of Aran mor in the Bay of Galway, of whom nothing is recorded; the


Eoganachts of Ros-airgid, and the Eoganachts of Magh-Geirrgin, a (level) district in which the town of Fordun in Marr is situated. See Ogygia Part III, c. 67.

We have nothing, as far as I know, to fix the period at which the Eoganachts established themselves in this townland, but it is probable that it was some (time) after the establishment of Christianity for it appears from the life of St. Enna that on his arrival on the island, it was occupied by Pagans out of Corcomroe {in the now County of Clare} who were governed by a wicked leader of the name Corbanus. From this it will appear pretty certain that the Eoganachts had not yet arrived, and if conjecture were allowable, I would suggest that it is highly probable that they were sent by Aengus, King of Cashel, and head of the Eoganachts, to St. Enna to inhabit the island after the expulsion of the tribe of Corcomroe. See Life of St. Enna C. 15.

In an Inquisition taken in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the Great island of Aran is stated to consist of three townlands, the one called Trian Muimhneach {the Momonian (ternal) division} the other Trian Connachtach {the Connacian third} and the third Trian Eoghanacht, {the Eugenian third.}


I do not believe that this Dun was ever built by the Eoghanachts of Aran, but by the same people who built Dun Aengus and Dun Conchobhair, though I have no doubt that they dwelt wilhin it down to a considerably late period.

This Dun is nearly circular, it being 91 feet from north to South and 90 from east to west. Like Dun Aengus its wall consists of three distinct divisions regularly faced with stones of considerable size, and which would stand firm independently of each other. On the South side the entire thickness of the wall is 16 feet, the innermost division being 4f. 0in., the central division 4 feet and the outermost 8 feet. This wall is in good preservation and is at present from 12 to 16 feet in height. The doorway, which is nearly destroyed is placed in the S.E. side. The original breadth was 3f. 4in. but its height or other characteristics can never be ascertained.

There are remains of (four) flights of stone steps leading to the top of this wall from the inside, one at the north, one at the east, the third at the south, and the fourth at the west side, but they are so injured as not to merit (minute) description. See the Dun of Eochaill, where similar steps occur from a description of which an accurate idea may be formed of the kind of steps which originally [led] to the tops of the walls of all these forts.

This Dun had never any outer works like those at Dun Aengus, but it is built of stones


much larger and its wall is several feet thicker. Near the broken doorway lhe stones are enormous (not monstrous!).

Ground-plan of Dun Eoganacth.
'Ground-plan of Dun Eoganacth' (Wakeman).

This fort commands a panoramic view of the "North shore" and the Twelve peaks of Connamara.

About half a mile to the west of this Dun there are two of those little houses which O'Flaherty calls Cloghans

They have Cloghans, a kind of buildings of stones layed one upon another, which are brought to a roof without any manner of mortar to cement them; some of which cabbins will hold 40 men on their floor; so ancient that no body knows how long agoe any of


them were made. Scarcity of wood and stone of fit stones, without peradventure, found out the first invention.

p. 75.

The more perfect of these Cloghans, is not of a conical shape like those on Inis Gluaire in Erris, bul of an oblong form. It is 14f. 3in. in length from east to west and 6f. 2in. in breadth from South to north. It is angular in the corners at the west side and rounded at the east side. (Every stone hangs above that immediately below so that the two sidewalls are so near each other at the top as that one stone extends from the one to the other.) The roof is (thus) covered (in) with ten long flags laid horizontally across at the height of 8 feet from the level of the floor.

There are two doorways on this Cloghan, one on the South side which is now stopped up and the other in the north side, which is opened so as that one can enter it, bul I could not without great trouble ascertain its original height. The lintel of this doorway is on the inside 4f. 8in. long, 9 inches deep and 1f. 0in. in thickness. The thickness at the doorway is 3f. 5in. The lintel which traverses this doorway at the top on the outside is 3ft. 10inch. [long], 8 inches deep and 1f. 4in. in thickness. On the outside this Cloghan is as irregular as a carn.

Immediately to the N.E. of this there is another Cloghaun having half its roof destroyed. It measures on the inside 18 feet in length, and 7ft. 5inch. in breadth. It was in (en)tered by two doorways, one in the north wall, the other


in the south one. The south [?recte north] door is 1f. 8inch wide and the South one 1f. 9in. one [sic], but the height could not be ascertained without going to great trouble in clearing away the stones.

These houses which, as I shall presently shew, are to be found in many other parts of the island, are not unlike the female Warrior's house on the Island of St. Kilda (and the Staller House on Borera Isle), which are described by Martin thus as follows in his interesting account of that island:

Upon the west side of this Isle there is a valley with a declination towards the Sea, having a rivulet running through the middle of it, on each side of which is an ascent of half a mile; all which piece of ground is called by the inhabitants, The Female Warrior's Glen; This Amazon is famous in their traditions: Her house or Dairy of Stone is yet extant; Some of the inhabitants dwell in it all Summer, though it be some hundred years old; the whole is built of Stone, without any wood, lime, earth or mortar to cement it, and is built in form of a circle pyramid-wise towards the top, having a vent in it, the Fire being always in the centre of the floor; the stones are long and thin, which supplies


the defect of wood: The body of this house contains not above nine persons sitting; there are three beds or low vaults that go off the side of the wall, a pillar betwixt each bed, which contains five men a piece; at the entry to one of these low vaults is a stone standing upon one end fixed; upon [which] they say she ordinarily laid her Helmet; there are two stones on the other side, upon which she is reported to have laid her sword.

p. 23.

And again

In the west end of this isle ({i.e. Borera}) is Stallir House, which is much larger than that of the Female Warrior in St. Kilda, but of the same model in all respects; it is all green without like a little Hill; the inhabitants have a tradition that it was built by one Stallir, who was a devout Hermit of St. Kilda; and had he travelled the Universe he could scarcely have found a more solitary place for a monastic life.

p. 43.

See Macauley's description which is much more minute.


About 220 yards N.W. of Dun Eoghanacht are traceable the foundations of an oblong house 20 feet by 13, and which had two doorways, one in the east wall and the other in the west. Close to the fort are the remains of similar buildings, 19 feet 7 inches long, and 13 feet from doorway to doorway. To the N.E. of the Dun are the foundations of three others of similar form and equal dimensions. These are the remains of the Cloghans described by O'Flaherty in 1684, (some of) which "would hold 40 men on their floor".

Immediately to the east of the Dun there is a small stone enclosure with three upright stones in its centre. It is called Kill Chomhla or Kill Chonan, and said to be the grave of a saint. Colgan mentions a church called Kilconnan near Teampull mór Enna on the other end (side) of the island.



Name. The ancient name of this fort is also lost, and its present one is derived from the townland in which it is situated. Eochoill, is (certainly the ancient) name of this townland (but it) is called by mistake Leamchoill in the life of St. Enna written by Augustin Mac Raidin about (the year) 1390, for Leamhchoill is the name of the next land on the opposite shore of Garomna island, from which St. Enna is said to have set sail for Aran. It is probable however that this mistake was committed by Colgan in publishing Mac Raidin's text, and that both places were mentioned by the latter. "St. Enna set sail from Leóchoill and landed at Eochoill" would appear to have been the original text of Mac Raidin. The word Eochoill is not explained in any Irish Dictionary or other work worthy of attention, but it is evidently compounded of Eo and Coill. The meaning of the latter part of the compound is certainly 'wood' but the meaning of the former part Eo may be doubted; I have been these seven years under the impression lhat it is the Irish for Yew, but on turning to the authorities I cannot find a single example of its use. The word used in


the earliest MSS., for yew is Iubhar, which is explained in Cormac's Glossary as derived from eo, i.e. semper, and bárr top or foliage "quia frontis honores (.i. folia) semper virides sunt". On turning to Colgan I find that he understands the word as signifying the oak not the yew; thus in giving the derivation of Maigh eo {Mayo} he writes:

Monasterium Hibernis vulgo Mageo i.e. Campus quercûs vel juxta primum vocis etymon Magh-dá-eo i.e. campus duarum quercuum, latinis nunc Mageo, nunc Maio appellatum.

Acta SS. p. 604, Col. 2.

{Compare with Achadh dá eó, now Aghadoe in Kerry.} O'Flaherty speaking of the venerable trees of Ireland which were prostrated by a storm in the year 665, states that the one of them called Eó Mughna, which stood on the plain of Magh Ailbhe near the present Ballaghmoon in the County of Carlow, was an Oak tree, and the one called Eo Rossa was the yew.

Eo Rossa taxus fecit et ad ortum aestivum Drumbar Drumbar versus decidit.

Ogygia p. 313, Cap 60.

From this it would appear that eo was a generic word for tree, it being (at) one time applied to the Oak and at another to the yew; but it would appear to have been oftner applied to the oak {eó-óg! (a yoke!)}.

The next next question is, Was there ever a wood of yews or hoaks here? Could they strike root into the solid


rock? Let the Crannologist answer this question. There is however a tradition (on the island) that there was a "scrubby wood" of small hard oaks (and hazels) here some years ago in which the little boys and girls of the island were wont to gather nuts, and this (appears to me) probable, for on the north part of this townland near the sea there is a considerable depth of soil formed of decayed vegetables, in which small trees could strike root, but I don't agree with J. T. O'Flaherty or the author of the History of Galway in the opinion that this island was once overshadowed with wood; for in the first (place), there is little or no shelter, (from the Atlantic storms;) in the second, there is no depth of soil (in) any part of the island in which a large tree could be fed, and in the third place, the wintry (storms and) showers of spray which traverse this island from end to end, and from side to side, are calculated to destroy large trees. The only trees of any size at present on this island are in a little valley in Kilronan, but these present all the appearance of plants fed in an unfavourable soil, and withered by the sprayey breath of ocean storms.

The various tribes of the more humble plants however, flourish here (in health and beauty) in the rich soil formed by the decayed remains of their predecessors, and by (the) detritus of the limestone rocks with which


they are surrounded. One fact in connection with this subject (of trees) puzzles me very much: Why would not trees grow in Erris now as well as formerly? That they grew there in ancient times - and not many hundred years ago - is certain, in as much as (many) large trunks (and roots) of oak and ash are found there in the bogs and in the sand on the sea shore near Doonah Castle; and now Erris is so destitute of trees, that (when) a little girl, a native of that district came to the neighbourhood of Casllebar she fainted at the sight of a tree! mistaking it for a giant.

Can Captain Portlock or any of our modern men of Crannological science give any reason for this fact? Are the storms now more furious, or has the Salt water changed its qualities?

To return to the meaning of the word Eochoill. I think it means Oak-wood {eo-c sylv) and that a small wood of hard (dwarfish) oak grew here on the part which is now cultivated. Let others if they please, insist that the meaning is yew-wood because the English word yew or eugh as it was anciently written, (is nearer to it than the English word oak.) I have no other reason or authority to contradict such an opinion, but what I have above stated, and that there are no remains of yews there at present.

So far the name of the division of the island on which this fort stands. The Belgic name (of the fort) may have been Dun-Taman or Dun-Kima, but it is now totally forgotten to tradition, and ils history seems never to have been written, or if written long since destroyed.


Situation. This fort is situated on the highest point of the townland of Eochoill about 2 miles to the west of the village of Kilronan and adjoining the (Aran) Light house. It was a very important fortress, and the one which guarded (defended) the north side of the island. It commands a splendid view of the harbours on every side. To the west you have a view of the ocean; to the north-west of (the) Skerds, the rocks of which O'Flaherty tells such wild stories; to the north, at a considerable distance, of Mac Dara's Island and Cruach na Caoile, and of the 12 Stacks of Benna Beola, "robed in colours of the sky".

This fort is in a much better state of preservation than Dun Aengus, and merits particular description in consequence of the lights which it throws upon the original characteristics of the parts of Dun Aengus now destroyed. The ground falls a good deal on the north east side where the fort is very difficult of access in consequence of the unevenness of the surface and sharpness of the rocks. No Cheveaux de Frise are now observable outside this fort, and it is probable that none ever existed as the position was sufficiently fortified by the nature of the surface. It may be safely asserted that no horses could ever approach this fort, and men must have found difficult


to make a sudden assault upon it, in consequence of its commanding situation, and the difficully by which the rough fields of stone around it on every side could be traversed.

This Dun consists of two circles (or rings), the one surrounding the other at unequal distances. The internal keep is a strong Cyclopean wall of large stones (nearly of an oval form) without any kind of cement. The circle measures in length from north to South 91 feet and in breadth from East to West 75f. 6in. Like the other central wall of Dun Aengus it consists of three distinct walls built up against each other, and so well faced with large stones that they would stand independently of each other. On the North-east side in which the doorway was placed this wall is nearly destroyed, but on the South west and North-east (North-west) sides it is in good preservation. Its highest part is at the west side where it is exactly 16 feet high, and 10 feet thick. The next highest part is the east side where it is 13 feet high: here the two outer divisions of the wall are the same height and measure both together 8f. 8in. in thickness, but the innermost division is nearly destroyed down to the ground, but from a small fragment of it remaining its thickness is ascertained to be 2f. 7in. This



that lhe thickness of the three divisions was 11f. 3in., that is 1f. 6in. more than the thickness on the west side. On the west side the internal division is 7f. 9in. lower than the other two divisions, and it would appear that it was never higher though it is hard to conjecture why it was so low as it would be difficult to get up on the top of the wall from it. It is 2f. 6in. in thickness and 7 feet high above the floor of the fort. On the South and by west side a flight of stone steps leads to the internal division of the wall. At presera only 4 of them are visible, but there are at least 3 others covered by the stones (debris) fallen from the top. This flight is 4f. 1in. in breadth and runs within one step of the platform of the internal division of the wall. Ils inclination is 2f. 6in. from the perpendicular, thus:

Flight of stone steps in Dun Eochla.
Flight of stone steps in Dun Eochla (Wakeman).

The lowest step of these ([is] 1f. 2in. high and 0f. 7in. deep; the second) is 1f. 4in. high and 0f. 7in. in deep [sic]; the third 0f. 10in. high and 0f. 5in. deep; the fourth 1f. 1in. (high) and 5½ deep.

In the south part of the wall there is a similar flight of steps leading from the platform of the innermost division to the top of the parapet. This flight consists of three steps, of which the lowest is formed of two stones and measures 1f. 1in. in height and 6 inches in depth; the second step is formed of one stone, and measures in height 7 inches and in depth 0f. 8in.; the third step is formed of three stones very rudely placed and measures 1f. 4in. in height and 0f. 7in. in depth. This flight runs to the left and is 4f. 1in. in breadth. In the North east side where, as I have already remarked, the wall is very much dilapidated, are the remains of another flight of stone steps leading from the floor of the fort to the platform formed by the internal division. Of this flight only three steps are now visible, of which the lowest is very much shattered by the falling down of the stones. It consists of one stone and measures 1f. 0in. in height and 0f. 8in. in depth; the second step consisting of two stones is 1f. 1in. in height, and 0f. 6in. in depth; the third step consisting of two large stones with spalla's between them, is 1f. 2in. in height but the depth cannot be ascertained; neither can the thickness of the wall be here measured in consequence of [the] ruinous state of the three divisions of which it was made up. It is probable however that it is the same


thickness here as on the east side. In the north east point of this wall and within 20 feet of this flight of steps was placed the doorway, but it is very much injured. It was formed of enormous stones; two (of) which extending the entire thickness of the wall still remain. The one which can be measured is on the left hand side and measures 9ft. 7in. in length, 1f. 3in. in height and 1f. 3in. in thickness. On the right side the foundation stones only remain from which it can be ascertained that the breadth of the doorway was 4f 3inch. The stones which formed this part of the wall are lo be found in large quantities in the hollow beneath, and seem to have been hurled out of their places by storms. Within this fort near the north side is a round pile of stones, which seems the ruins of an oblong oval house destroyed for some purpose, and near the S.E. side are the evident remains of anolher, but so destroyed thal no measurements could be given.


Outside this Daingen or Keep there is another wall now very much injured. It consisted of two parts {like the outer-walls of Dun Aengus} each faced with large stones so that if the outer part was destroyed or undermined the inner part would be still firm. The thickness of both divisions laken together is 5f. 7in. and the greatest height at the east side is 12 feet and at the North 7f. 9in. On the east side this outer wall is 50 feet distant from the internal one; on the North-East 90; on the north 109; on the west 57; on the South-west 50, and on the South 39 feel. {See Ground plan.}

I have thus far dwelt on the description of this fort, not because it is the finest specimen on the islands, but because it contains features which (are) destroyed or so defaced in the others that I could not form any definite idea of their characteristics; on the other hand, however, there are features in the others which are destroyed in this, so that although there is no perfect specimen on any of the islands, still from a minute description of each ruin a correct picture of all the characteristics of


a perfect Firbolgic fort may be drawn.

Ground-plan of Dun Eochla.
'Ground-plan of Dun Eochla set to a Scale' (Wakeman).


At the Village of Eochoill about half a mile to the S:E of this are the strong traces of another fort which was built of stones of vast size, but the greater part of the Circle was destroyed to build the little houses in the village of Eochoill. On the East side it was utterly impregnable as on that side the wall is built on the edge of a rock about 20 feet in perpendicular height. The people assert that this was the strongest fort on the island and that it was very extensive, but I could not even calculate its (original) diameter from the segment wch. remains. The greatest height of the fragment remaining is 7 feet, but the breadth cannot be ascertained. The lover of Cyclopean architecture has for ever to lament the destruction of such a gorgeous specimen as this must have been.



Name. The (present) name of this fort signifies Black fort or Black City, it being compounded of the Irish word dubh, black, and cathair, a stone fortress, a city. (I do not believe that this is the ancient name, because it is so called from the colour of the stones like Caher Gheal the White City near Headfort, and Cathair Gheal in the Parish of Killererin near Tuam.) The latter part of the compound is a very ancient Irish word originally applied to forts of stone, built upon naturally fortified hills, but in the modern Irish (it is) used to express both a stone fort and a modern city such as Limerick, Waterford, Cork, &c. This word is found not only in languages of the Indo-European family but also in some of the Semitic Dialects, and it is not easy to decide from which of them it found its way into the language of the Belgae and Scoti of Ireland. In the Cambric or British it is written Caer, and found in the names of many places in Wales; in the ancient Saxon it is written Caerten; in the Gothic Gards; in the Cantabrian Caria; in the Hebrew Kariah or Kiriah and sometimes Karth; in the Chaldean Dialect Kartha; in the Syriac Karitita; and


in the Greek Karak. Ussher thinks that this word enters into Carthage and Cairo, and O'Brien, R.C. Bishop of Cloyne, goes so far as to suppose that Malec-Karthus, which was an appellative of the Phcenician Hercules, is derived from it, and that it means the King of the City. Leaving these speculations to those who, like Sir William Betham, are practised Phoenician and Chaldaic scholars, I pass to the present received meaning of the word and that which can be inferred from Irish MSS.

The word Cathair is now, as I have already stated, applied to a modern civilized City of markets and shops, but it is also constantly applied in Connaught, and from Erris to Kerry head, to a strong stone fort built of stones without any cement. It is nearly synonymous with Caiseal and Dun but there is this difference that Dun is very rarely applied to a stone fort {I never met an instance but on Aran, and I am not surprised that the exception should occur there as they have scarcely any thing but stones, houses of stones, forts of stone, fields of stone (&c)} it being almost


in every instance applied to an earthen fort situated on a naturally fortified hill; and the Caiseal, though always, without a single exception, of stone, is not always of Pagan origin or, at least erection, for it is constantly applied to the outer walls which enclose primitive Irish monasteries, such as the one described by Venerable Bede as having been erected at Lindisfern by St. Cuthbert an Irishman in 684, and to such enclosures as I have described as existing on Inishmurry and Inish Gluaire. It is probable also that the Monastic Caiseal was sometimes cemented with lime and sand mortar, for such, no doubt, was Caiseal an Urlair, a lapideus ambitus, which the abbot O'Brolchain erected around the Monastery of Derry in the 12th century. In the County of Fermanagh they apply the word caiseal to a pound for cattle or any stone enclosure: "Déanaigídhe caiseal do'n eallach".

It is curious to observe the various words which the primitive Irish applied to their habitations, many of which are to us (with us) perfectly synonymous. The principal of these are the following; and I speak on this subject without


diffidence, as I have heard the words applied and seen the ruins to which they are applied his oculis in most parts of Ireland.

1. Cloghan (Clochán), a stone house of an oblong (conical) form {Generate a cone from an oblong rounded at the corners, and you have (the form of) the Clochan}.

2. Turran (Tor-theach), a stone house of a conical form, that is constructed of stones without cement in the form of a Beehive.

3. Lisin, a small earthen fort.

4. Raithin, exactly synonymous with Lisin.

5. Lios, an earthen fort of any extent generally situated upon level ground.

6. Rath precisely synonymous with Lios. By syno[ny] mous I mean exactly what Dr. Watts means in his Logics when he writes:

When two or more words signify the same thing, as wave and billow, mead and meadow, they are usually called Synonymous words.

This distinction should however be made, that they prevail in different districts (and are probably borrowed from different dialects, and the same thing is observable of the words caiseal and Cathair. (I think the Irish language is made up of the Dialects of the Belgae, Danonii, Scoti, Danes, Latins, Danes, some Welsh and Saxon.)

7. Caiseal, a (round) stone fort, generally built by the Pagan Irish, but applied also to the imitative enclosures built by their early Christian descendants.

8. Cathair, a circular or oval stone fort, or any fortified position erected by the Pagan Irish.


On this subject the antiquarian has to remark that all the Cathairs in Ireland were, to all appearance, built by the Tuatha De Dananns or Bolgians (two Greek Colonies) and the earthen forts (Raths, Lisses) and Duns were built by the Scoti or Milesians. The only exception to this which I find borne out by history is Cathair Conri in Kerry, which was built by Curoi, the Contemporary and rival of Cuchullin. He was certainly a Milesian but it is possible that as being an adventurer into Scotland and the Isle of Mann he may have got one of the travelling Pictish Cashellors to build it for him. I do not know any other Milesian fort of stone. Tara was of earth and Timber; Emania was surely the same; Taillteann had no stone forts; Rath Cealtair is of earth; Dun Aillinn the gigantic palace of the Kings of Leinster is of earth; Roeriu is of earth; Naas is of earth and (Dinn Righ) the more ancient palace of the Kings of Leinster was of earth.

So far for the name Cathair, which tempted


me to digress. I am yet certain whether the word Badbhdhun a Bawn is to be classed with those ancient Irish words.

Situation and description. Dubh-Chathair is situated in the south side of the townland of Killeany over the edge of a lofty cliff. This fortification would appear from its colossal rudeness to be a thousand years older than Dun Aengus, and I have little doubt that it was built by the Tuatha De Dananns or the remnants of the Firbolgs immediately after the battle of Moy-Turey, though Irish history, as far as I know, contains nothing to prove this assumption. This fortress consists of one enormous wall fortifying a Rinn or point of a cliff of stupendous altitude and terrific projection. This wall is in its design not unlike the one built by O'Conor and the English to fortify the peninsula of Rinn Duin near Athlone; it extends from one margin of the cliff to another, separating from the main land a point of rock {not land} which juts out towering (about 300 feet) over the howling waves. This wall forms a segment of a circle 220 feet long. It is 20 feet high and 18 feet thick! It is far from being perpendicular, and is constructed of large rough stones without any attention to Masonic(!) art. Let any one examine this fort and compare it with Dun Conchobhair on the


Middle Isle, which is, according to Irish history an erection of the first century and he will come to the conclusion that it {Dubh Chathair} must have been raised in the very infancy of Society

The point or Rinn which it fortifies is 354 feet in length from the northern point to the southern, and in breadth (at the north side along the wall) where it is broadest, 220 feet, and about 110 at the south extremity where it forms a terrific cliff.

On this Rinn inside the wall are rows of stone houses of an oblong Conical (q? term?) form, but now very nearly destroyed, one row extending along the wall and built up against it, another running from north to south for a distance of about 170 feet where it (originally) branched into two rows, one extending South west as far as the margin of the cliff, and the other to the South east to the opposite margin, but these two rows thus branching from the main row are nearly washed away by storms, and they seem to have suffered in a (special manner) from the late memorable storm, which hurled the waves in mountains over those (high) cliffs, cast rocks of amazing size over the lower ones to the east of them, and sent a shower of spray (cáitheadh fairge) across the whole island.

These cliffs (crepidines) are very well described by O'Flaherty:

Claustrorum reliquiae videntur esse Arannae tres Insulae, quae obrutu non faciles in medio profundo eminent, et editissimas praeruptas crepidines decumanis fluctibus objiciunt.

Ogygia, p. 164.

410 411

Ground-plan of Dubh Chathair in Killeany.
'Ground-plan of Dubh Chathair in Killeany' (Wakeman).

The Cloghaun marked No. 1 in the annexed Ground plan is the most perfect of the group and measures 12 feet across from east to west. The others were nearly of the same dimensions, but they are so effaced that no satisfactory description of (even) their foundations could be given. The largest one near the wall was 18 feet long and 13ft. broad {See No. 2}.

The doorway, or rather gateway, by which this fort was entered was placed in the east side, near the margin of the cliff; but it is probable that a considerable part of the cliff has fallen in since the wall was erected, and that the doorway was not then very near it. (These cliffs are daily falling in; the memorable storm of January 7th pushed enormous blocks of them out of their places and about two years ago, as a fisherman was standing on the margin of the cliff at Dun Aengus, the part on which he stood gave way and precipitated him into the sea.) Outside this wall there (are hosts of) stones placed slopewise like those already mentioned in the description of Dun Aengus, but these are not so thick set nor so extensive.

To the North west of this fortress are the evident traces of a similar one, but the cliff has fallen in and the storms have reduced the part remaining to a shapeless ruin.

To the east of it are the remains of a large Cloghaun nearly destroyed. It was 18 feet, 6 inches in diameter and the wall was 6ft. 7in. in thickness. A small chamber in the wall is still perfect, measuring 3ft. 8in. one way, 3ft. 4in. in the other and 3ft. 8in. in height. What use was made of this I do not know; it is not unlike the little chamber in the inner wall of Dun Aengus, which I have conjectured, perhaps upon very weak grounds, to have been used as a bed! It was (perhaps) like the Sail of the modern Irish cabin, used to hold the pail, the mether and the pot.


To the east of Dubh Chathair for a distance of half a mile (where the cliff lowers) are to be seen piles of enormous rocks cast ashore by the storms. These at first sight presented to me the appearance of Firbolgian forts, but I soon perceived that they were shapeless masses rolled in by the storms.


About 1½ mile to the S.E. of the village of Kilronan are the remains of another Cyclopic or Bolgic fort of far smaller dimensions than those already described. It is only 72 feet in diameter, and the greatest height of the part of the wall remaining, is 7 feet. The thickness cannot be ascertained with any certainty, as the wall is crumbled into a shapeless mass of ruins.


Outside Patrick O'Flaherty's garden wall (in Kilmurvy Townland) are the remains of a Cyclopean wall built of enormous stones, but I could not learn that it was ever brought round into a circle so as to form a Dun or Cathair. About a quarter of a mile east of this are the remains of a similar one but not of such very large stones.

To the east of Mr. O'Flaherty's are the foundations of a square house which was built of large stones without cement, but I do not think it a pagan erection.



Name. Roderic O'Flaherty informs (us) that this fortress was called from Conchobhar the brother of Aengus Mac Uamore, who flourished a short time before the birth of Christ. I here again quote his original Latin because it would appear from Hely's translation that this and Dun Aengus were (one and) the same fortress:

De Clanna Huamoriis, AEneas, et Conquovarus paulo ante Salvatoris sdventum sub Maudâ Connactiae reginâ floruerunt, ab hoc Dun-Aengus, ingens opus lapideum sine coemento tamen, quod ducentas vaccas in areâ contineret supra altissimam maris crepidinem è vastae molis rupibus erectum adhuc extat in Arannâ magnâ sinûs Galviensis insulâ, S. Endei incolatu, et Sanctorum multitudine postea


celebri; ab illo perpetuâ incolarum traditione Conquovari filii Huamorii Dunum nuncupatur alia similis maceries inde non procul ad Ortum in Arannâ mediâ insulâ.

Ogygia p. (175), 176.

Hely's translation Vol II, p. 20.

Of the Huamorian family Aengus and Conquovar flourished, a little before the birth of Christ, under Mauda, queen of Connaught. From that time (ab hoc!!), Dun Aengus, a great stone-work without cement, which might contain in its area two hundred (cows), on an amazing eminence of the sea, erected with cliffs of a stupendous magnitude, is yet to be seen in the Great Aran, an island in the Bay of Galway, renowned for the residence of St. Ende, and, afterwards, for a multitude of anchorites and holy men. Ever since (ab illo!!) it is called it is called [sic], by the perpetual tradition of the inhabitants, the Down of Conquovar, the son of Huamor. There is another mound (maceries similis) without mortar, not far from that, to the east, in the middle island of Aran.

Proper Translation.

Of the Clann-Huamoir Aengus {Innees} and


Conquovar flourished under Meave Queen of Connaught, a short time before [the birth] of Christ; from the former {is named (nuncupatur)} Dun Aengus a large work of stone but without cement, which would contain two hundred cows within its area, and which is yet extant, built with stones of vast size (not with cliffs of stupendous magnitude!) over a very lofty cliff of the sea, in the Great Aran, an island in the Bay of Galway, celebrated for the residence of St. Enda, and afterwards for a multitude of Saints; from the latter {(i.e.) Conquovar} according to the perpetual tradition of the inhabitants, was called (not it is called) the Dun of Conquovar, son of Uamor, another similar work (maceries), lying not far from thence to the east on the middle island.

That Hely's translation is wrong and mine correct will be at once clear to any one acquainted with the construction of Latin sentences, and what he meant to say will appear obvious from his English account of the same forts drawn up for Sir William Petty's (intended) Atlas in 1684, where, after describing Dun-Aengus and the Great island, he writes:

The Middle Island of Aran contains eight


quarters of land; where there is the like old fortification as on (?in) the Great island named from Connor Mac Huathmore, brother to Engus of Dun-Engus as the tradition goes.

Situation and Description. Dun Conchobhair is situated on a rocky eminence, commanding a view of nearly the entire island. It is by far the most magnificent fortress on any of the islands not excepting even Dun Aengus to which it is superior in point of masonry and extent. Its internal Daingean or keep is of a long [Space left here in MS] oval form (that is, it is narrower by several feet than the regular oval, see ground plan, p. 85) measuring in length from south to north 227 (feet); and in breadth from West to East 115 feet. It is a colossal wall, which, like those of Dun-Aengus and all the others above described, consists of three distinct divisions (built up against each other and) well faced with large stones. (On the east side where I was able to obtain the measurements with facility), the outermost division is 6 feet thick, the middle division 5ft. 7in. and the innermost division 7 feet, so that the entire thickness is 18feet 7inches, but it is not so thick any where else. On this (side) the highest point of the wall is 20 feet in height, & the outer face of it is built of large stones very well laid and nearly perpendicular. It is partly covered with ivy, which is very unusual in forts of this description. The greatest height of this wall at the north-


east side is 17 feet, where the outer face of the wall is also strong, regular and nearly perpendicular though truly Cyclopean. At the west point the wall is 18 feet high and on the north and by west it is exactly 20 feet. Here the external division is 6ft. 8in. thick, the middle division 4ft. 4in. but the innermost division cannot be measured it is so much injured and covered by the stones fallen down from the two higher divisions. On this side the wall stands on a cliff which is about 10 feet high; and to one standing at the foot of this cliff the fort presents a magnificently barbaric appearance. In the north side of this wall there is a flight of stone steps, of which five steps are visible, leading from the interior of the Dun to the platform of the innermost division, and another consisting of six steps (each of which is formed of two stones and 1ft. 9in. in width) leading ad dextram to the top of the wall. On the North and by west there was a similar flight but so injured that no accurate description of it could now be given from what remains. On the west side there is another flight consisting of six steps now visible (which are two feet in width) leading from the area of the fort to the platform of the innermost division of the wall.

From the North west to the South-west point of this wall it is fortified by a cliff about ten feet in height; but on the north east and South sides another (wall) now much destroyed, was carried about it at unequal distances.


On the South east side it is 74 feet from the outer face of the wall of the keep; and at the North-east 52. This wall is so much injured that I could not ascertain its height or breadth any where, but there can be little doubt that it was exactly like the outer wall of Dun-Eochla, and the second outer wall of Dun Aengus. The doorway in this has totally disappeared, and that of the keep is also nearly, {as usual,} destroyed, but it can be ascertained that it was placed in the north east, and that it measured in breadth (width) 2ft. 5inches. on the outside and 3ft. 6inches. on the inside.

At the North-east side of this Dun there is a very curious (kind of an) oblong building not found in connection with any of the other Duns. (A part of) The outer wall just described forms its south west side. This building, which I incline to think was a Bawn for Cattle (I take Bawn to be an old Irish word, though I do not find in the old MSS. The Four Masters write it Badhbhdhún i.e. Bellonae Munimentum. Some think it means Ba-dhún i.e. Cow Dun, and enclosure for cattle) though truly Cyclopean in all its characteristics is an oblong building (nearly) rectangular at (two of) the corners. Its (east) wall is 9 feet thick, and at the North-East corner it is 15 feet high. The gateway leading into this building is 9 feet wide, but its height cannot be ascertained. This building is not (in its form and perhaps design) unlike the square earthen enclosures near the moat of Dromore and Clones. It measures 73 feet from East to West and 51 from North to South. The square enclosures near the moats are Milesian or Scotic (erections) and this is Belgic or Firbolgic (one). {See ground plan on page 85} [i.e. MS p. 258]

Ground plan of Dun Conchobhair, set to a scale.
'Ground plan of Dun Conchobhair, set to a scale' (Wakeman).

There were several cloghauns within this fort built against the wall, but they are all destroyed, as are all the cloghauns of Aran with the exception of the two in the townland of Onaght already described in page 53. [i.e. MS p. 226]

It is my opinion that the inhabitants of (the) Aran (islands) continued to live in those houses till a comparatively modern period, for even though they have changed the mode of constructing the roofs of their houses, still the style of their walls is as Cyclopean, if not more so, than Dun Aengus, and they still build small houses for their cattle (and potatoes) nearly in the same style and dimensions of the more ancient ones.

Macauly in his History of St. Kilda states that there (were) groups of round houses {nearly similar to the Cloghauns of Aran but not so oblong} used on that island in his own time {1765} and I incline to think that the Aranites used their Cloghauns at no distant period of time. Macaulay writes:

Besides the dwelling houses already described, there are a prodigious number of little cells, dispersed over all the island; which consist entirely of stones, without any [sic] the smallest help of Timber. These cells are from twelve to eighteen feet in length, and a little more than seven in height. Their breadth at the foundation is nearly equal to the height. Every stone hangs over that immediately below, but perpen-


dicularly, but inclines forward, so as to be near the opposite side of the Grottoe; and thus by imperceptible degrees, till the two highest courses are near enough to be covered by a single flag at the top. To hinder the rain from falling down between the interstices above, the upper part of the building is overlaid with turf, which looks like a green-sward, while new.

The inhabitants secure their peats, eggs and wild fowle within these small repositories; every St. Kildian has (his) share of them, in proportion to the extent of land he possesses or the rent he pays to the Steward. From the construction of these cells, and the toil they must have cost before they could have been finished, it seems plain that those who put them together were, if not more ingenious than their neighbours in the adjacent Islands, at least more industrious than their own successors.

pp. 43, 44


About 50 paces to the north of the Square Bawn of Dun Conchobhair are the remains of a cloghaun, or some very ancient house measuring 27 feet in length and 13 in breadth, but so destroyed that I could not state with any certainty whether it should be classed with the Pagan or Christian buildings, and indeed it is not easy to prove whether many of the Cloghauns which formerly existed in groups, aye in villages, on these (islands) may not have been erected by the early Christians, in imitation of the Pagan ones. The scarcity of Straw and more particularly of timber, and a copiousness of large stones originally suggested the construction of the roof in the manner described, but why they should have so much deviated from the oval or the circle will not be easily accounted for. The Druid who is introduced (by Evan) as predicting the arrival of St. Patrick whose houses would be like the houses of the Romans, narrow and angular, seems not to have known any thing about those Cloghans in Aran, which are very narrow and sometimes angular, being like boats turned upside down. But the Druids of (King) Laoghaire were Milesians or Scoti and perhaps knew nothing about the men of the Bolgs or leather boats! I believe it has been conjectured from a passage in


Sallust about the houses of the Numidians, that the Fir Bolgs took the model of their houses from their Currachs or Naomhogs. Perhaps they first built the side walls and then roofed them with their currachs?


This fort receives its name from that of the subdivision of the Island on which it stands, for it is situated in the South east division or townland of Inish Maan called Mohar. This island which in O'Flaherty's time {1684} was divided into 8 quarters, is now, according to the natives, divided into 6 portions which are known by the following names

  1. Ceann a Bhaile (caput villae) - Kinbally, upper and lower.
  2. Baile an duna, Doontown, on which Dun Conchobhair stands.
  3. Baile an teampuill, churchtown.
  4. Baile an lisin.
  5. Moinin na ruaige.
  6. Mothar.

The word Mothar is explained by O'Brien as signifying a Park (a cluster of trees), but in some parts of Ireland it is understood to mean the ruins of an old building. The division on which this fort stands is by some called Mur ({maceries}), which may be the true original name, and if so, it may probably


have derived it from this fort.

This fort is very like Dun Eoghanacht already described in pages 49, 50 [i.e. MS pp. 222-3] but not so circular. (It is some feet wider than the regular oval.) Its ring measures in length from South to North 103ft. 6inches., and in breadth West to East 90feet. 6inches. Its wall, like those of all the other forts above described, consists of three distinct divisions built up against each other (and) faced with stones of considerable size. The whole thickness of the three divisions is 11ft 0inch., the innermost division being 2ft. 3inches., the middle division 4ft. 6inches. and the outermost one 3ft. 0in. (4ft. 3in.). On the west side there is a flight of steps (3ft. 8in. in width leading leading from the area of the fort to the platform of the innermost division, and another thence to the top of the wall, the former consisting of four steps and the latter of 4 more. On the north east there is another flight leading to the platform of the internal division. Nearer to the east point there is another flight (3ft. 8in. in width) of which only three steps are now visible. The doorway is placed in the N.E. side would appear to have been 8ft. 8in. in width but it is so injured that no certain description of any of its characteristics can be given.

The innermost division of the wall is nearly destroyed all round. The greatest height of the two outer divisions is 15 feet. This is at the


west side. The whole circle is nearly the same height excepting in very few places.

Fig. 132

Ground plan of a fort in the townland of Moore.
'Ground plan of a fort in the townland of Moore; on the middle island of Aran' (Wakeman).

This fort had no external fOrtifications but it is built on a very commanding situation.



O'Brien's Castle on this Island is situated within a Cyclopean Dun which is 170 feet in length from west to east, and 123 in breadth from north to south. The Dun enclosing this castle is neither circular, square, nor oval but adapted to the contour of the hill (Collis naturâ muniti) which it fortifies.

The doorway was placed in the North east side but is so much destroyed that I could not ascertain even its original breadth with certainty, but original thickness of the wall appears to be 8ft. 2inches.

The Castle itself is a square fabric 43ft. 5in. in length and 25ft. 6in. in breadth and 30 feet high. It consists of three stories.

The sketch annexed on page 93 [i.e. MS p. 266] will convey an idea of the form of this castle, and of the rocky hill on which it stands.

O'Brien's Castle on Inis Orier.
'O'Brien's Castle on Inis Orier. W. F. Wakeman delt.'


About half a mile to the South of St. Caomhan's church are the remains of a Dun of considerable extent but the wall is so dilapidated that no description of it could be attempted. Within this Dun is shewn the grave of the Seven daughters, locally called Cill na Seacht n-inghean, of whom I have frequently spoken before. Over this grave there is a standing stone with a rude cross sculptured on it.

Immediately to the east of the modern military tower on this Island there is a shapeless pile of stones called Cathair na m-ban i.e. the city or fort of the women, which is without doubt the remains of some pagan erection on which tradition, in its whim, or perhaps from some lingering reminiscence of some historical fact bestowed this appellation. It is now however so like a heap of stones piled together within (without) design that the most acute antiquarian in the world (can) come to no conclusion whatever as to its original use, (or even) form or characteristics. Its name Cathair na mban (Civitas mulierum) alone arrests the antiquarian's attention.



There were three Cromlechs on Aranmore, but they are now destroyed with the exception of one. One stood at Couroogh on the north side of the island, not far from the Smith's forge, the other not far distant (in a subdivision of Kilmurvy called Fearann a choirce), and the third which is still in existence about a mile from the forge to the South near Michael O'Brien's house. But the most remarkable one stands to the N.E. of the little village of Moor or Mohar on the Middle Island. It is traditionally called called [sic] Leaba Dhiarmada a's Ghraine i.e. the Bed of Dermot and Grania, from a story which is connected with all the Cromlechs in Ireland, that when Graine, the daughter of King Cormac Mac Art, and wife of Finn Mac Cumhaill, eloped with Dermot O'Duivne, the handsomest man in Ireland in his time - they were a year and a day away before Finn could discover where they were. During this period the happy {unhappy} couple never slept the second night under


the same roof but constantly moved about from territory to territory, and every night, for a year and a night, Dermot erected one of those Beds of stone to shelter Graine from the inclemency of the weather!

It consists of two upright stones (running parallel with each other) about 10ft. 8in. in length, and about 4 feet high, and of a covering stone at the top laid perfectly horizontal. It appears to have [been] enclosed at the ends by two other stones, of which the one on the north side is removed but that on the South east still remains though a little displaced. There appears to have been some clay carried hither to form a small mound under this Cromlech. If one took the trouble to remove this clay off the surface of the solid rock, he would no doubt find an urn and some pagan antiquities under it. I could not possibly have done any thing in this way, as I was busily employed every day while I was on these islands, measuring the ruins on the three islands.

I find no more pagan remains on those Islands except some sites of Cloghauns, which are so effaced that a description of them would be worth nothing.



Before I begin the description of the churches on these islands I shall give an abstract from (of) the life of St. Enna written by Augustin Mac Raidin about the year 1390, and printed by Colgan in 1645, and write such observations upon the Topographical names occurring in it as will be necessary to my purpose. It is very fortunate for the antiquarian who investigates the ecclesiastical remains on these islands that Colgan published a list of them five years before the principle [sic] group at Killeany were (was) destroyed by Cromwell, and that Roderic O'Flaherty wrote an account of those existing thirty years after that destruction.

It is to be regretted that no older life of the Archimandrite is now accessible, for Mac Raidin does not appear to have been well acquainted with the Topography of Aran, and it is obvious from his notice of Leamchoill that he mistook the text of the old writer from whose work he compiled the life of St. Enna. Either this is the case or Colgan has not given his words correctly



(a) [Referred to on MS p. 272] St. Enna was king of Oriel, a district in his time comprehending the present Counties of Louth, Armagh and Monaghan; but he abdicated this dignity, which in those days, was inseparable from war and bloodshed, for the quiet dominion of a religious congregation.

(b) [Referred to on MS p. 272] Ard Kiennachta is now the barony of Ferrard adjoining the sea in the County of Louth.

[Hand of Patrick O'Keeffe:]Arran ½ Barony {Archdall}


From a MS. of the Island of all Saints (1) the author being Augustin Magradin.

XXI. March

1. In that golden age the fifth (2) in which the (Saints of the) Sacred Island of Ireland almost equalled in number of the stars of the heavens, commenced the wonderful conversion and the extraordinary (mirifica, wonder-working) behaviour (conversatio) of S. Endeus Abbot, a man illustrious by the nobility of his race,(a) but by far more illustrious by the splendour of his heavenly virtues. His father was Conall the son of Damenus (3), Lord of Oriell which was formerly a very large territory in Ulster; and his mother was Briga (4) the daughter of Anmirius Chief of Archiennacta:(b) parents far-famed for a holy progeny, and very noble ancestry. For this happy pair begat Endeus

[In right-hand margin:] {obs: the passages marked with a vertical line [not indicated here] are printed in Italics in the AA.SS} in general all abstracts {are written in a smaller hand than the text} AA.SS. p.704.


the bright ornament of his nation, four daughters viz: Fanchea (5) Lochinia (6) Carecha, & Darenia, the three former of whom seeking {Col. b} the marriage of the eternal King, merited to be inrolled in the list of the holy spouses of Christ; but the fourth, being betrothed to an earthly king, although not numbered among the spouses of Christ, did not however want (8) a progeny both royal and holy.

II. On the death of Conallus, Endeus by the universal suffrages of the people, is appointed Chief of War and administrator of the State by the Oriellians. But he that was to be the renowned soldier of Christ did not long manage that high office (magistratum), until being converted in a wonderful manner by the pious exhortations of his sister S. Fanchea, who being now some years betrothed to Christ, presided over a certain Nunnery(c) at that time, by a happy traffic, changed the leadership of worldly warfare into the service of Christ; in which after an humble noviciate,


(c) In the notes to the life of S. Fanchea, 1st January, Colgan says that he thinks Ros-oirthir in Fermanagh is the nunnery which she is said to have erected in her paternal country; we do not find in her life mention of any other establishment founded by her.


and many years passed in devout subjection, he made such a progress in every virtue, that at length being a man most renowned {p. 705.} for innumerable prodigies, he became the ({spiritual}) Father of many monks, and a distinguished promoter {&} propagater of the monastic institute, among his fellow-citizens (i.e. countrymen?), as is evident from his life, which we give here, from the Book of the Island of all saints, without a head {acephalam} {for one or two Chapters lost by chance among our papers, are wanting in the beginning}.

{Col. 5} Ch. III. {Endeus is converted by his sister Fanchea at her conobium} {text}: Unde convenienter dictus est iste juvenis Endeus (9) .i. En Deus, ut apparet in ejus subita conversione, ut de parvo fieret studiosus. Auditis ergo Sanctae virginis sermonibus, spretisque mundi vanitatibus habiturn (10). Monachi, ac tonsuram suscepit; atque rem per tonsuram significatam opere complevit.

{Col. 5.} III. *** IV *** the soldier of Christ turned himself to the building of a new place for the family of God, which place is called Cillaine (11). ***

V. At the same time also there came some robbers from the territory of the (12) Crimtanni,(d) who were enemies to the tribe of Endeus, and taking a prey were passed near the monastery which he had built there.

{abstr:} The people of the neighbourhood pursued them, and Endeus was going to assist his friends, but was prevented by his sister Fanchea, who


(d) Now the Barony of Slane in the Co. of Meath, JO'D.

(e) [Referred to on MS p. 277] This seems a story invented at a late period. I should like to see the originals from which Mac Raidin drew it. I believe that there is an ancient Irish life of St. Enna still extant, and I hope we will be able to get it among the College MSS.

(f) [Referred to on MS p. 277] This is the only derivation which has been given of this island by the ancient Irish; the modern speculatists have supposed that Arann or Ara must mean a hill from its similarity to Ard, high.

(g) [Referred to on MS p. 277] The mouth of the River Boyne still retains this name. See Colp on the Ordnance Map of Meath.


rebuked him severely, and desired him to quit his country; {text) and go {says she) to Britain to the monastery of Rosnacum (13), and become an humble disciple of Mansenus (14), the Master of that Monastery. Endeus hearing these things said to his sister: What length of time ought I to remain there? The virgin answered: until your good fame shall have reached us.

VI. Endeus accordingly did so, and after some time went to Rome where he was ordained priest.

Since, then, he was made a priest, seeing that he by reason of that, ought to shew to others the way to heaven, therefore having collected his disciples together he erected the Monastery which is named Latinum. And indeed that monastery is fitly called Latinum (15) where the commandment (mandate) of charity towards God and towards their (one's) neighbour is purely observed.


VII. After some time some pilgrims from Rome came to S. Fanchea and gave her an account of her brother.

VIII. Upon which she set out with three of her virgins to see him. She went to his monastery, where among other subjects of conversation {p. 706} he told her he would return to Ireland in a year after her landing in that country.

IX. And she added to Endeus. When you shall have come to Ireland, do not first enter the land of your birth, but you shall seek a certain island, the name of which is Arann,(e) in the Western sea of Ireland, and there you shall (will) serve your God faithfully. This island is called Arann (18) .i. ren {a Kidney} in Latin, because it is shaped like the Kidney {col: b.} in animals; being narrow in the middle, and wide in extremities.(f)

X. after this S. Fanchea returns to Ireland, &c.

XI. But after the space of a year S. Endeus as he had promised went with a prosperous voyage, from his monastery, to wit Latinum by name, with 150 monks, to Ireland; and landed also in the coast of Meath in the harbour which is called Colptha.(g) There also S. Patrick


as is related, is said to have landed before him. S. Endeus therefore coming on land, founded many Churches there on both sides of the river which is called Boinn ({The Boyne, JO'D}).

XII. He then went to Aengus Mac Natfraoich, King of Munster, who resided in Cashel, to request leave to dwell in the island which is called Arann. The wife a]so of that King was the sister of S. Endeus, the daughter of Conallus Dearg. But the Queen was called Dairine ***

{p. 707} XIII. Then the King offerred the island to God and Saint Endeus.

XIV. The saint then went to the (a) harbour from which he could most conveniently cross over to the island {the name of the harbour is not given(h)} and having no boat or ship sailed across in a large (grandem) stone (lapidem) which lay on the shore, and which 8 of his brethren shoved (launched) into the sea for him. Therefore with a prosperous voyage he arrived at the island, and came ashore in the Northern part of the island, in a place which is called Leamhchoill.(i)

XV. But there were then some (certain) gentiles of the race of Corcumruaidh ({Now Corcomroe in the Co. Clare, JO'D}) there. These immediately fled from the island, as darkness {flies} the presence of light.(j)



(h) Tradition says he set out from Minna on the north shore. But see page 17 suprà and also pages 57, 109. JO'D.

(i) The stone on which St. Enna is said to have sailed across from the north shore, is still shewn about ½ mile to the N.E. of Cromwell's fort. It is a rough rock, and called the Currach Stone, J.O'D.

(j) Perhaps they quitted by the King's orders? JO'D!


Their leader alone remained, who was called Corbanus, remained; he as another Pharas obdurate in malice prepares snares in that place which is called Leamchoill.(k) He supposed the saint to be a magician. When the gentile saw the man of God shut (enclose) himself in the scissure of a certain stone, he said within himself: that magician is not a corporeal man, but has an aerial body. Then the saint says to him: grant me this island that I may dwell in it. And Corbanus answered: I permit you to remain in it till the end of forty days, and on such an agreement he left the island, and came (went) to his own territory which is called Corcumruaidh ({Corcomroe}). But the man of God passing through the island, saw the horses of that Corbanus, which were grazing in a place which is called Ardnagcaorach (Ardnageeragh); and he drove {Col: b}


(k) This is certainly the place now called Eochaill. Leamhchoill wd. be pronounced Leochaill in Connaught. Could Eochoill be a modern corruption of this by a dichneadh, tosaigh? JO'D.


them into the Sea. And swimming they came prosperously to the middle island. Whence that place where they landed is called to the present day Traighnaneach(l) (26). But (And) they swam from the island which is called middle, to the third island which is called the Eastern, whence the shore where they landed there is as yet ({also}) called to this day Traighnaneach (Tráigh na n-each).

XVI. In the place where the man of God first offerred sacrifice to God in the island, he afterwards erected a monastery. But Corbanus ordered a large barrel (dolium) to be made, which filling with the seed of corn, he said: if (the) God, whom Endeus preaches wishes that he should possess that island, let him send this barrel full of corn to him, dwelling in the island. Wonderful to be said {et cetera} - for the consolation of that Endeus the Lord by the ministry of Angels (angelicum, an Angel?) transmitted this barrel of corn. And, as the skilled (febh as benat eólaigh) relate, the seed of corn, this kind of,



(a) [Referred to on MS p. 280] O'Flaherty writes that these names existed in his own time:

In each of the two other islands is Tragh-na-n-each, or Tracht each, i.e., the horses's shore, situated as ({described}) in his life {Cap 15}. But Leamchoill {Cap: 14} where he is said to have first arrived in the north side of the {Great} island should be Ochoill (Eochoill), for Leamhchoill is in the West Continent, whence is a ferry Port into the island, and Ochoill (Eóchoill) in the island on the north side thereof, hath a port for boats to arrive named from Ochoill (?it).

p. 85.

The situation of these shores is most accurately described in the life. The name is now corruptly pronounced Trágh teach for Trácht each. The name should be shewn on the Ordnance map.



(m) Referred to on MS p. 283] This name existed in a corrupted form in Roderic O'Flahertys time. "There is on the east side of this island Port Doibhche i.e. Portus Dolii, mentioned in St. Enna's life {Cap 16} now corruptly Port eiche".

This name is also preserved to this day, and I don't see how it is at all corrupted; O'Flaherty inferred from the rapidity of the pronunciation that the name was in his own time Port eiche, but that is in reality the present pronunciation of Port-Daibhche, the t of Port and the d of daibhche forming - as is the case in every language - but one letter in the pronunciation. The name is pronounced in its anglicised form as if written Port-ai-ha. This should be also shewn on the Ordnance Map.


is had in the island even to the present {time}. They moreover assert, that the vestige (trace) of that barrel appears in the sea, as to (quoad) the serenity of the sea; so that the sea does not become disturbed by waves in the way through which the barrel (Dabhach) passed; but a calm always remains there. The place where it was miraculously brought to the island, is called Portus dolii (Port daibhche(m)) even to the present day. But Corbanus seeing so great a miracle, coming himself to the man of God, gave the island to him, and to God for ever.

XVII. But after the island had been (was) granted to him, bringing into it the college of his disciples, he divided the island (among them) into ten parts; and built ten monasteries in it; (27) and in each he appointed one, superior, as if Father, and another as if second to him in power. For he ordained that these should so preside in each monastery that on the death of the senior, the other ought to preside. He (also) appointed that the Seniors should be buried with the rest ({of his people}); but he ordered the other Prelates


who would succeed should be buried in their (propriis) own cemeteries. But the holy man built for himself a monastery at the East of the island, which {monastery} is now called the Church of Saint Endeus (28). {Cella Sancti Endei(n)}.

XVIII. And as formerly among his disciples (qu: whose?) ({of Christ}) there arose a contention, which of them should be the greater; so in like manner among the disciples of Endeus, concerning the division of the island. For Saint Endeus wished to give half of the island to his own monastery; but the Fathers of the eight other monasteries and their disciples contradicted (opposed) him, alleging, that there was not the equity of justice in this division. They therefore performed a fast of six days, that the Lord might shew them, what they ought to do in this matter. And the prayer of the Saints was heard; for the fast being performed an Angel of the Lord appeared to Saint Endeus, casrying to him two gifts, sent


(n) Now Killeany. See it noticed.


to him from God, namely a book of the four Gospels, and a sacerdotal case (casula(o)) of sacred utensils (ministeriorum?). For by these two precious gifts, it was given to be understood, that he himself was worthy above others of the double honour, viz.(p) in teaching by the Gospel, and in presiding by the sacerdotal case. That Book of the Gospels is kept with great reverence in the Church of Saint Endeus; in like manner, also the Case ornamented with gold and silver was held formerly among Ecclesiastical gifts, but now it is only covered (only) with the metal of brass; nevertheless it is held in great honor. Saint Endeus therefore gave to his own monastery the half of the island; but to the other monasteries another part of the same; and so this division remains even to the present day.


(o) {Du Fresne explains casula by vestis sacerdotalis; and we find the word used, evidently in that sense, in the MS. Life of S. Kieran in Marsh's Library, but it cannot have that meaning here. See infra.}

(p) that is by the Gospel was signified his title to teach, and by the case, to preside. Why should the Cumdach entitle him to preside? JOD

I could hear no account of this case or copy of the Gospels. It is probable that they are destroyed. JOD


{p. 708} XIX. But others relate this history differently. [In left-hand margin: Italics in AA.SS.] For they say that three holy men went from Ireland into Britain that they might remain for a time under the Rule of Saint (30) Monenn Master of the monastery of Rosnat? (Rosnatense). [In left-hand margin: haec apocrypha videntur] After some time they went to Rome. At this time the Roman Pontiff died, and the people and clergy sought to make saint (32) Pupeus(q) {one of the three} [In right-hand margin: {takes up a column of the AA.}] Pope, but which he refused to consent to; accordingly Saint (33) Hilarius is created comharb of Peter. At length the aforesaid three holy men {whose names were Helueus (34), Pupeus, and Endeus} resolved to return to Ireland; and to avoid circumlocution let us at once imagine them landed there.

Therefore having taken with him his holy disciples he {S. Endeus} came to (arrived at) the island which was granted to him from heaven, namely Arann, and landed in the harbour, which is called Leamhchoill ({now Eochoill,(r)to JOD}). After they had fasted for {the space of} three days, God sent them a {Col: b} fish of wonderful size into the fountain, which is called the fountain of Leamhchoill,(s) with which fish the Almighty fed one hundred and fifty monks who were along with Saint Endeus. At that time God sent a


(r) This is a puzzle!!

(s) This is the well lying near Monaster and now called after St. Kieran, JO'D.



(q) This story about the Pope who was buried on the island of Arann has found its way also into the Leabhar Breac, and, I believe, into the Feilire Aenguis. They have no tradition of it now on the island. The only reminiscence of the connection of any Pope with this island is in connection with Gregory's Sound which is said to have been named after Gregory the Great, who died on the 12th of March 604. But this Gregory was certainly not buried in Aran, but,

Moriens, in extremâ porticu ante Basilicam S. Petri Apostoli propé secretarium, quod nunc dicitur Sancta Maria de Febre {ubi etiam sepulti fuerant Leo, Simplicius, Gelasius, Symmachus, et aliquot alii Romani pontifices} conditus est.

Platina, p. 78.

See page 15 supra where a quotation is given from O'Flaherty to the effect, that the memory of Gregory the Great was revered in Aran. See also Ussher's Sylloge first edition p. 13 -

Quid plura? Ad Gregorii Papae Urbis Romae episcopi {à nobis in Commune suscepti, et oris aurei appellatione donati} verba me Converti.

Cumian's letter to Segienus, Abbot of Iona.

It is generally supposed that the real name of St. Ceannfhionnach was Gregory, See Ballynakill Parish.



(t) [Referred to on MS p. 289] Exactly similar stories are at this day told about many magical horses and Cows in different parts of Ireland. The lake here called Loch na Ceannainne is the one situated in the townland or division of Courooagh between Port-Murvy and Kilronan. This name is now lost to tradition, but I think it should be preserved on the Ordnance Map, under the anglicised form of Loughnacannony. See notice of Cill na manach, p. 225, &c.

(u) [Referred to on MS p. 289} St. Pupeus, an Aranite refused the tiara! I wonder did he wear the Pampooties?

Grádh mo chróidhe do wig a Sheághain!


wonderful cow, which was red in the body, and white in the head, to the relief of his poor {people}. This {cow} sent by (from) God was milked three times a day, the milk of which afforded abundance to all the disciples of Saint Endeus. And when one day she heard the lowing of another cow in the island, which (cow) was given by a certain man to the faithful and holy Endeus; then winding herself in a circuitous motion as if giving honor to the Divine Trinity, immediately immersing herself in a pool of sweet water, which is in the island, she nowhere {after} appeared.(t) Whence it is called from the name of that cow, Stagnum na Ceanainne. The people seeing this together with all the Saints of the island, assembled in one place, and entered upon a consultation, which of them should be Chief and the greater in that Island. S. Endeus wished Pupeus to be the person; he refused us in the case of the Tiara.(u)(u) *** Therefore by the unanimous consent of all the Saints, three men worthy of trust, namely Finianus the younger (36) and Maccrethe (37) and Iarlatheus (38), were sent to the


Roman Court, that they might announce to them the will of the Pope. They relating the words of the people to the Sovereign Pontiff, he sent them back with his answer, saying: go to your Island, and assemble all the ({your}) people, and to whomsoever of those assembled God will give the signal of Presidency or authority over others, obey him as Chief. And they did so, as the sovereign Pontiff ordered; for when the messengers returned, and declared the Papal will to the saints of God in the Island, all assembled into one place, and behold a great sign and unusual sign appeared before their eyes; for they saw three white birds flying from the East to the Island, one of which carried the Gospel of Christ; but the other two bore a Case of a precious kind. They placed the Gospel in the bosom of Saint Endeus; but they laid the case beside (circa) him. And when they had accomplished all these things, flying three times round the island {and going} to the Cemetery of


the Saints, they returned again. Therefore all the saints of the Island beholding this wonderful sign, shewing due reverence to saint Endeus, and giving thanks to God, appointed (tenuerunt) him as their Abbot.

XX. When therefore Saint Endeus was serving God faithfully in his Monastery with his holy College it seemed troublesome to his Monks, that they had not a level passage to the sea. The man of God, therefore, coming to the harbour of the sea, signed with his staff (baculo) that very hard Rock, which offerred (to ships) an impediment to ships, to approaching the monastery; and afterwards returned home. But on the following night, an Angel of the Lord holding a flaming knife (spata?) in his hand, cut that very hard Rock into two parts, making a wide way through the middle, which even to this day affords a level passage, and without impediment, to those entering the Island.



XXI. Saint Keran, also the son of the Artizan (39), coming to this man (of God) remained seven years in the territory of the monastery(v) serving faithfully. In his {p. 709} quoque septem annis sec diligenter exercebat trituratoris (thresher) officium, ut in paleario (chaff house, Bard, JO'D) territorii non posset granum (recte stramen), quod culmen faceret inveniri. Unde usque hodie manent muri tertitorii sui apud Arann.(w)

XXII. *** {de S. Kierano}

XXIII. After these things S. Kieran having received the blessing of his Abbot Endeus prepared himself for building the monastery of Clonmacnoise. *** ({S. Endeus predicts S. K's future celebrity &c})

And when they said these things to each other, a Cross was erected as a sign of the mutual brotherhood, which they entered upon there between themselves, and between their posterity (i.e. Spiritual); and they said, whosoever after us shall violate the unity of our brotherhood, on earth, may he be deprived of our brotherhood and society in heaven.



(v) [Referred to on MS p. 292] That is, the townland of Fearann na mainistreach now generally anglicised Monaster. It is called Abbey land on Larkin's map of the County of Galway, and forms the northern portion of the island. Dr. Malachy Quaeleus or O'Cadhla in his list of the church[es] of the diocese of Tuam transmitted to Colgan shortly before the year 1645 states that an abbey called Mainistir Chonnachtach, i.e. Monasterium Connachtense stood on this townland but that it was afterwards destroyed and a church dedicated to St. Kieran erected in its place. See a description of this church in page ?

(w) [Referred to on MS p. 292] This is an amazingly curious Fable, but Colgan has misprinted one word which renders the sense very obscure. The following is the correct translation:

During these seven years he {St. Kieran} so diligently performed the duties (duty) of a thresher that no straw could be found in the barn of the townland which would cover a roof, and hence to this day the houses of that townland in Aran remain {without straw roofs].

This is a curious story invented by an inhabitant


of the mediterranean parts of Ireland to account for the absence of straw roofs on the island of Aran. It is curious to see how every age adapts its theories to the kind of philosophy in vogue. The writer of this legend knew a certain fact viz that the houses near St. Kieran's monastery had no thatched roofs as those of the more fertile parts of Ireland had. He wanted to account for this fact, and he does it very satisfactorily for the philosophy of that age, by stating that when St. Kieran was employed on the island as a thresher, he did his business so faithfully that he pounded the straw so long (well) with the flail to knock all the corn out of it, that it was (rendered) unfit for thatching, it being threshed into brus or minute particles. Hence the people of that place were obliged to thatch their houses with stone.

I do not know of any thing ever written to equal this in point of gravity and wisdom, but the following passage in Baron Swedenborg, on the


spirits who inhabit the planet Venus.

I did not discourse with those spirits who are on the side that looks this way (i.e. to our earth), and who are savage and almost brutal, but I was informed by the angels concerning their nature and quality, and whence it comes that they are so brutal; the cause is this, that they are exceedingly delighted with rapine, and more especially with eating of their booty: The delight thence arising, when they think about eating of their booty, was communicated to me, and was perceived to be most extraordinary. That on this earth there have been inhabitants of a like brutal nature, appears from the histories of various nations; also from the inhabitants of the lands of Canaan, and likewise from the Jewish and Israelitish nation even in the time of David, in that they made yearly excursions and plundered the Gentiles, and rejoiced in feasting on the spoils. I was informed further that those inhabitants are for the most part giants, and that the men of our earth reach only to their navels; Also


that they are stupid, making no inquiries concerning heaven or the eternal life, but immersed solely in earthly cares, and the care of their cattle.

Translation, p. 127.

These were very material spirits no doubt.

(a) [Referred to on MS p. 297] Medraighe is latinized by O'Flaherty Medrigia. It is a peninsula lying to the South of Oranmore and to the west of Clarin Bridge, and comprising the entire of the parish of Ballynacourty.

(y) [Referred to on MS p. 297] I am not aware that this name exists. See name books of Kilcolgan, Ballynacourty and Oranmore.

(z) [Referred to on MS p. 297] See Parish of Ballynacourty.

(aa) [Referred to on MS p. 297] This is unquestionably that part of the Bay of Galway opposite the mouth of the River Gaillimh or, as it is now called, the Corrib. The boy who is mentioned here as having given his fish to St. Enna was a native of the Claddagh, and this is the oldest reference to the Claddagh fishery preserved in history. The Claddagh may now be considered a part of the English town of Galway, but the inhabitants of it are as Irish now as they were in the days of St. Enna. They have scarcely a single word of English.


XXIV. After these things S. Endeus went into the land, which is called (41) Medraighe(x) ( {Maaree South of Galway}), to a (unum) harbour, which is called Portus Luabann;(y) and there Saint Endeus asked Keran, to go to a neighbouring place, which is called Achadh-Draighnich ({Aghadrinagh(z)}), and from that place to banish a beast, which had devastated the entire country around the aforesaid place. For one of the disciples of S. Endeus, who was called (42) Gigneus, dwelled there. But he was one of the foreign (transmarinis) saints, who had come to Arann with Endeus, and had there a place of dwelling; they therefore expelling the beast from the aforesaid place, he possessed his Hermitage in peace.

XXV. After these things, S. Endeus coming to the sea, and seeing fishermen there [In left-hand margin: {no place mentioned}], asked them for some fish, which they refused, but one boy gave his fish to the Saint. Endeus cursed the place &c. Going away from thence the holy Father Endeus came to the harbour, which directs to the lake named (43) Orbsen,(aa) and asked of God, that on account of the merits of that boy born there, who had given him the fish, there might be an abundance of fishes there.


XXVI. After this the man of God arrived with a prosperous voyage at a certain island in that lake, which is called (44) Echinis;(bb) and was received in hospitality by a certain prudent man named Crumther Coelan (45) who was the Head of that place, and not having {any} other food for his holy guests, running to the plough, took from thence an ox, and prepared {him} (i.e. the ox?) for the refreshment of the poor of Christ. ***

{Col: b} XXVII. But S. Endeus afterwards returning to the island of Arainn, remained there up to a decrepit age. When S. Kieran left Arann S. Endeus saw in spirit all the Angels follow him, was much afflicted and entered upon severe fasting and praying; but an Angel appeared to him, assuring him that the Angels would return again.

Therefore {says the Angel} discontinue your fast in the name of the Lord. Then Endeus says, I will not desist from my fast, until I obtain three petitions (46) from my God. For I ask, that whosoever (omnis qui) shall be contrite for his sins, and choose interment with me, the gate of Hell may not be shut on him (super eum). I moreover


(bb) Now Inishgerraun near the Castle of Aughnanure, JOD.


ask, that whosoever shall invoke my name in his affliction, may be assisted by the Lord Jesus Christ. Thirdly I pray, that I myself may sit at the right hand of God together with his saints. And the Angel of the Lord said to him, as you have asked, so it is granted to you to (by) your God.

XXVIII. Also at another time the same Keran returning again to the island, both that he might {no verb} make there the profession of a monk, and there expect the end of his life. There were then also in the aforesaid island Abbots of most holy life and Founders, videlicet S. Endeus, and saint Finnian the elder (senex) (47). ***

S. Kieran leaves Aran. {p. 710} S. Endeus prophecies the fall off of religion and increase of crime which was to take place in after ages, &c. After he had prophecied these and such things concerning the end of the world, returning to his monastery, and recommending his soul into the hands of the almighty God, he expired.



(cc) [Referred to on MS p. 301] Was the life of Enna written by Routh Bishop of Ossory ever published?


1. Ex codice Insulae omnium Santorum. We have frequently remarked that the author, or collector of the lives contained in the Vellum Manuscript (codice) of the Monastery of Canons Regular in a certain island of Lough Ree called the Island of all saints, was Augustin Magradin, a monk of the same community. And since this author, more recent, as having flourished about the year 1390, is wont to relate the acts of the saints briefly, and having changed the style of the ancients, it were desirable, that a life of this saint written by some ancient Biographer should come to light. I hear that there is extant an ancient office of this most celebrated Abbot in the County of Galway, and his life in MS. by the Most (Right) Rev. Dr. David Routh, Bishop of Ossory.(cc) But as this alone has come to our hands, we give it without a head (acephalem); supplying one or two chapters which are lost by chance among our papers, from the Life of S. Fanchea his sister {which we have given at the 1st of January}.

2. Aureo illo saeculo quinto, C. 1. {see appendix}

3. 4. {see appendix}

5. 6. 7. 8. Fancheam Lochiniam, Carecham. & Dareniam quae progenie, & regia, & sancta non caruit. See in the life of S. Fanchea at the 1st of January. ***

9. Convenienter dictus iste juvenis Endeus .i. En Deus, C. 3. He alludes to the Etymology of the word Endeus, as if he were so called on account of the wonderful manner in which it pleased God to convert him. But beyond doubt the Irish name Enda, or Enna, by which this {Saint} is commonly called, as well as many others of his nation, before him, who even were not Christians, is not derived from any Latin word, but Irish. For the Irish word En denotes


at one time a bird, at another a lonely or solitary {person}; and the adjective Enda denotes either solitary, or (vel) swift or (sive) like a bird. Whence the Scholiast of the Festilogy of Aengus in the words (hereafter) to be cited in the Appendix C. 2. indicates that he, when by inadventure, being already a Monk, he sprang up against the enemies (who were} fighting against his relatives, he was rebuked by his sister, and called Enda, that is like a bird. He could also justly be so called from his desire of a solitary life, which he had led in the island of the sea, like the solitary sparrow on the house-top. But as I have remarked before, I think that this name was given to him in baptism, as it is (also) found given by their Parents to others fellow {of his} Countrymen, who were not as yet imbued with the faith of Christ.

10. Habitum monachi ac tonsuram suscepit, C. 3. I think that he received the Habit not from the hand of S. Fanchea, but of the Spiritual Father assisting those nuns.

11. Qui locus vocatur Kill-aine, C. 4. The Church of Kill aine(dd) is at the foot of Mount Bregh on the confines of Ulster and Meath, in which S. Sidonius is venerated on the 9th of March. See our notes to the life of S. Fanchea at the 1st of January, n. 13.

12. De regione Cremthannorum, C. 5. This district commonly called Crimthanna, is in the confines of Oriel and Meath.


(dd) This is Killany in the County of Monaghan not far from the north boundary of the Barony of Slane in Meath, JOD.


13. 14. Ad Britanniam ad Rosnatum Monasterium & esto humilis discipulus Mancheni Magistri illius monasterii, C. 5. See what is said of the monastery {called} Rosnatense, and of S. Manchen an Irishman its Abbot in the notes to the life of S. Fanchea {at the 1st of January} n. 15 & 16, and to the life of S. David of Manevia {at the 1st of March} n. 4. - {in notes to life of S. David Colgan says it is the same place as Menevia, and called (Rosnatense) from Rosnia a valley in Pembrokeshire in which it {Menevia} is situated}

15. 16. 17. ***

18. Hac insula dicta Arann .i. ren in latino, C. 9. More correctly called Ara, .i. ren. For, the Irish word denoting a kidney is made in the rectus casus Ara, and in the genitive or second case Arann. Whence this island is commonly called Ara-na naomh .i. Ara of the Saints, from the multitude of Saints, who lived in it formerly in the time of S. Endeus, and his successors. It lies in the Ocean, between the extreme boundaries of Connaught and Thomond, belonging at the present day to the Province of Connaught, and the spiritual jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Tuam, although that it formerly belonged to the rights of the Kings of Munster, this life and the life of S. Albeus indicate. But there are three islands of the same name; full of churches, the sacred remains and tombs of saints, and tombs near ({i.e. the islands}) each other, and(ee) separated by the Ocean which flows between them; and(ee) the name of each is Ara. ***


(ee) [In pencil at lower left-hand corner of page:] .i. agus! {glaismeamhail}


27. In ea construxit decem Monasteria, C. 17. By the injury of Time these have degenerated into so many Chapels;(ff) concerning which see what is to be said more at large in the Appendix C. 6. (28.) that which is now called the Church of S. Endeus, C. 17. is commonly called Kill-Enda; and is now only a Parish Church in the first Island of Aran; of which in the Appendix C. 6.

29. Alii vero hanc Hystoriam narrant, C. 19. The author seems not to approve of this narration of others; which even can perhaps seem fabulous in part; as nothing is related by any {writers} on Pontifical affairs, or any other writer of good note, concerning that election of Papeus to the Popedom made by divine interference, and by so rare a prodigy. *** &c &c &c.

{p. 711.} 30. Sub regula Monenn Magistri Rosnatensis Monasterii, C. 19. See what is said more diffusely concerning this Saint Monennius, or Nennius, the master of SS. Tigernach, Eugenius, Corpreus, Endeus &c. at the 1st of March in the notes to the life of S. David.


32. Ecce venit S. Papeus, C. 19. The author of the life of S. Brendan in the MS. of the Island of all Saints, who seems to be also the author of this life, relates that S. Papeus was (along) with S. Endeus in the island of Aran. But since I find nothing about him in our Calendars under that name, I think that that name of Papeus was not his proper {name}, but that it was given to him from that gift of the Popedom, which he refused {&} which is attributed to him. Whence



(ff) [Referred to on MS p. 304] Colgan seems constantly to labour under the mistake that the monasteries of the primitive Irish were like the large Anglo-Norman Monasteries (or ones), or those erected by the native Irish princes in imitation of them, which he had seen in Ireland. Nothing however can be a greater mistake, for the chapels into which, he thinks they degenerated, were actually the original churches of those monasteries, and the monasteries (themselves) were only a collection of wooden or stone-houses in erected around them, in which the monks lived. In the primitive times the Great Church of the monastery was scarcely ever more than 60 feet in length and about 24f. in breadth, and the houses or cells cell erected around them were seldom more than 20 feet long. See St. Columbkille's house at Kells, and St. Kevin's Kitchen at Glendalough.



(gg) [Referred to on MS p. 307] Ipse est papa. I should like to see the oldest authority for this tradition, which states that one of the Saints of Aran was known by the designative of the Pope. It must be a fable founded on the name Pup-eus. See however page 155 where his name is said to have been Benedict.


we may conjecture, not without foundation, that he is the person of whom the Calendar of Cashel speaks thus at the 14th of June: S. Benedictus filius Luagneus, filii Leth triuni, filii Birnii, de Dal-Birn Ossoriae Comorbanus, sive successor S. Endei Aramensis, & frater Kieran Sagirensis; ipse est Papa,(gg) quem ferunt esse in insula Araniensi. These there. Or perhaps he is the person who is venerated under the name of Papanus on the 13th of July according to the Martyrology of Tallaght and Marian.

33. Elegerunt Romani S. Hilarium, C. 19. The election of S. Hilarius happened in the year 461 at which time I do not think that S. Endeus was a monk, and consequently not at Rome.

34. Hi Sancti viri Helveus, Papeus &c., C. 19. S. Helveus, or Ailbeus, Archbishop of Munster, is venerated on the 12th of September, at which we will give his life, in which it is also related that he was familiar with S. Endeus.

35. ***

36. 37. 38. Finnianus junior, & Maccrethe nomine; & Erlatheus, C. 19. He seems to call S. Finnian of Magbile, whose life we have given at the 18th of this month, Finnian the younger; for he who flourished after the year 560, could be called junior in comparison with S. Finnian of {p. 711, Col: b} Clonard, who flourished before the year 520, and died in the year 548 according


to the Four Masters, or at least before, the year 560. See the life of S. Maccretius, at the 11th of August, and of S. Ierlateus, Bishop of Tuam at the 26th of December and 11th of February

39. 40. ***

41. In terram, quae Medruighe dicitur, C. 24. It is a maritime little district of Southern Connaught in the County of Galway.(hh)

42. Nunc de discipulis S. Endei, qui Gigneus dicebatur, C. 24. See Appendix below, C. 2.

44. Quae Echinis(ii) dicitur, C. 26. It is an island of Lough Orbsen in the County of Galway.

45. Cruimther Caelan, qui erat Princess illius loci, C. 29. Cruimther Coelanus .i. Priest Coelan, who is here called Chief (Head) of that place, was a holy man, and is venerated on the aforesaid island of Echinis on the 25th day of April, according to the Mart. of Tallaght, Marian Gorman, and others.

46. ***

47. S. Finnianus senex, C. 28. This is S. Finnian of Clonard, whose life we have given above at the 23rd of February.

48. ***



(hh) [Referred to on MS p. 308] It is well known to this day, being (that) a peninsula lying to the South of Oranmore, and to the west of Clarin Bridge, exactly coextensive with the parish of Ballynacourty which is still locally called Meadhraighe (Maaree). It is the Peninsula called Medrigia by O'Flaherty, and the western extremity of the famous boundary called Eiscir Riada, which divided Leath Cuinn from Leath Mhogha or the northern from the southern Scoti.

(a) [Referred to on MS p. 308] Now InishGarraun in Lough Corrib near the Castle of Aughnanure.



p. 711

Domestic and foreign Martyrologists hand down that the Birth-day of S. Endeus is celebrated on the 12th of March; at which day the Mart. Carthusianum: In Hibernia Endei Abbatis. Canisius: Endei Abbatis ín Hibernia. Philip Ferr. in Hibernia S. Endei Abbatis. Martyrol. Tamlact. Endeus Araniensis filius Anmirii, filii Ronanii de Crimthannis, where erroneously filius Anmirii is read for filius Brigae filiae Anmirii *** Marian Gorman Endeus virgineus de Arania filius Conalli Rubei de Clochar; quiescit in Arania. Calend. Cassel. Endeus de Arania, filius Conalli Deirg .i. Rubei, filii Damenii, filii Carprei Daimh-{Col: b} airgid Regis Orgielliae; Briga sive Aibfinna, filia Anmirii filii Romani Principis Ferardorum fuit ejus mater, &c &c &c ***


from the Acts of other Saints.

{p. 713}

It appears from the life of S. Albeus to be given at the 12 Sept. that S. Albeus was along with Enna when they obtained the island of Aran from King Aengus, S. Ailbeus having made the request from the King. Also, that under S. Albeus, S. Enna erected the monastery in Arann.

in the Sanctilogium Genealogicum, C. 13. we read {abstr}

S. Endeus Araniensis filius Conalli Rubei, filii Dameni, filii Corprei cognomento Damh-airgid, filii Eochodii, filii Crimthanni, filii Fiegi, filii Deodadii, filii Eochadii, filii Collae Cognomento Dachrioch, &c. [In left-hand margin: {text} Engus: Keled: in opusc; de materna SS. Hib: geneal. C. 72. dicens. Aibfinnia, filia Anmirii, filii[?] Romani Regis Ferandorum[?] fuit mater Endei Araniensis, filii Conalli Rubei, & Libei de Arania.]


{col: b} *** 31. S. Libeus de Arania insula frater Endei, juxta Engussium Keled: verbis citatis C. 3. colitur 18 Febr. vel 26. Decemb. secundam citata Martyrol.


{p. 714}

Concerning the year of the death of Saint Endeus I find nothing observed in our Annals,


and other histories.

He must have returned to Ireland before the year 489 in which Aengus King of Munster died according to 4 Mrs. Usher ({Ind: Chron:}) says that he {Enna} lived till the year 530. In the life of S. Brendan it is mentioned that he visited Enna in Aran, and in that of S. Kieran that he remained in Aran until he left it for the purpose of building Clonmacnoise. These things happened about or after the year 540 as appears from the lives of these Saints. Colgan says that they are wrong to say that Conall the son of Damen Prince of Oriel {& father of Enna} died A.D. 605.


***{Remarks omitted, but none of those in the list}

S. Kieran everywhere called the son of the Artificer, afterwards Abbot of the Arch-monastery of Cluain is numbered amongst his first and principal disciples in the life of both, and by Aengus, or his Scholiast in the words above cited C. 2.

S. Finnian the younger, that is Abbot of Maghbile, and Bishop, is numbered amongst the same by another ancient author, quoted cited by the author of the present life C. 19.


S. Erlateus afterwards Archbishop of Tuam, the same author, same place.

S. Maccrecius the Hermit, {whose life we give at the 11th of August}. The same author ibidem.

B. Guigneus, the Cook of S. Endeus, and afterwards Hermit. The same ibidem, & Aengus, above

C. 2.

S. Papeus, the life of S. Endeus, C. 19. & the life (of) S. Brendan quoted in C. 2.

S. Coemginus Abbot of the most celebrated monastery of Glendalough, S. Aengus and his Scholiast, cited in C. 2.

S. Mochuda the founder of the Arch-monasteries of Rathen, & Lismore, and the Father of more than eight {p. 714, Col: b} hundred monks in both places. The same author.

({text though small writing}) S. Lonanus cognomen'd Kerr {of whom on the 6th of June}. The same author.

S. Nechatus or Necchanus {of whom on the 3rd of May}. The Life of S. Brendan above C. 2.

S. Libeus the brother of S. Endeus, Aengus the Culdee cited C. 3 & 4.

S. Columb Kille, whose Irish Life hands down that he dwelled for some time in the island of Aran in the time of S. Endeus. Whence I think that this Father of many monasteries and Patron of both Scotias is to be numbered (among his disciples).



But the first, and principal {one} is called by ancient writers Ara oirthir .i. the Eastern Ara, because {it is} nearer to the main-land towards the East; and vulgarly (commonly) Ara na-naomh, that is Ara of the Saints, because in it S. Endeus built ten monasteries, subject to one more principal one {which is called Kill-Enda .i. the church of Endeus}, and full of the (innumerable) relics and sepulchres of Saints, as the author of the life of S. Kieran of Cluain indicates. *** and this (first) island besides the Convent of our Seraphic order of S. Francis contains 13 Churches. The second island commonly called the middle, only two Churches. The third, called by the ancients from S. Coeman the patron Ara-Coemhan, and every where commonly Ard-Oilen contains three Churches.


And these three islands, and all their inhabitants and Churches are under one supreme parish-priest, residing in the first island.

But concerning the Churches of these islands, and first of the first island, and their patrons, and other Saints, receive the following from List (Elenchus) of the Churches of the Diocese of Tuam {in which it lies} lately transmitted to us, and faithfully written by the most illustrious Lord (Dom.) D. Malachy McHale (O'Cadhla) {Qualaeum} Archbishop of Tuam, a man distinguished for his zeal in religion, and adorned with every kind of virtues, extracted as they lie.

* 1. The Parish Church ([Added in pencil:] at foot of round tower) {to wit of the first island} commonly Kill-Enda lies in the County of Galway, and half-barony of Aran; and in it S. Endeus is venerated as patron on the 21st of March.

2. The Church called Teglach-Enda; to which is annexed a cemetery in which the sepulchre of S. Endeus, with one hundred and twenty other sepulchres, in which none but Saints were ever buried.


2 * 3. The Church called Tempull mac longa dedicated to S. Maclongius is situated near the Parish Church, which is called sometimes Kill Enda .i. Cella Endei, sometimes Tempul-mor-Enda ([Added in pencil:] at foot of round tower, now destroyed) .i. templum magnum Endei.

4. The Church called Teampull-mic canonn, near the aforesaid Parish Church ([Added in pencil:] now destroyed).

4 * 5. The Church called of D. Mary, not far from the same Parish Church ([Added in pencil:] destroyed).

6. {p. 715} The Church, which is named Templum-Benain .i. the Temple of S. Benignus ([Added in pencil:] still aps[?] Cromwell did not think it worthwhile to destroy this as it would have been too difficult to carry away the stones of it to the citadel).

7. The Church called Mainistir Connachtach .i. the Connaught Monastery, in the place of which being afterwards demolished, was built a Chapel dedicated to Saint Kieran ([Added in pencil:] now Monaster).

8. The Church called Kill-namanach .i. Cella Monachorum, which was dedicated to S. Cathradhochus, or Caradocus, the Monk, cognomened Garbh .i. the Rough.

9. The Church yeleped Tempull-Assurnuidhe, which is said to be dedicated to S. Assurnidhe {or perhaps Esserninus}; and this is in the greatest veneration among the Islanders.


10. The Church called Tempull an cheathruir aluinn .i. Quatuor pulchrorum; who are Saints Furseus, Brendan of Birr, Conall, and Birchanus; & whose bodies are said to be buried in one {&} the same tomb, lying in the cemetery of the same Church.

11. The Church {called} Tempull-mic-duach .i. the Church of S. Macduach {who is also called Colmanus cognomento Mac-duach}; which is a handsome Church dedicated to that Saint.

12. The handsome Church, and formerly Parochial, called Templum Brecain .i. the Church of Brecan; dedicated to the same Saint Brecan; in which also his feast is celebrated on the 22nd of May.

13. The Church near the aforesaid Church of S. Brecan, which is commonly called Tempull a Phuill.

These concerning the Churches, and Chapels of this first Island from the just-mentioned List of the most illustrious Prelate of Tuam. Moreover in our Martyrologies we read that the Birth-day of S. Endeus is celebrated on the 21st of March, that of S. Goban on the 30th of March, & 30th of May; S. Cronan on the 8th of March, S. Nehemias on the 14th of June, and S. Benedict on the same 14th of June. Whence I think that he is the same Saint, who is called by the Calendar of Cashel, Benedictus, [&] by other Martyrologies Nehemias.


{p. 715, col: b} In the second, or Middle Island, according to the aforesaid List there is one Church called Tempull Ceannannach, dedicated to the same S. Cennannach. And another Church consecrated to the Divine Virgin; and both subject to the Parish of S. Endeus.

In the third Island of Aran, which is also called (Ard-Oilen:)

1. The Church of Kill-choemhain, dedicated to S. Coeman; and in which (also) he is venerated.

2. The Church consecrated to the Divine Paul.

3. The Church called Kill-gradh-an-Domhain; in which Gobnata is venerated on the 11th of Febr:

In this island there was formerly a celebrated monastery called Kill-choemain, {of which above}, in which S. Caeman is (was) venerated on the 12th of June; from whom also the island itself is called Arachaemain. In the same is also venerated on the 5th of August S. Gormgalius; Of whom the Four Masters in the Annals at the year 1017, write, S. Gorragalius de Ard-oilen, praecipuus Hibernorum Synedrus, sive Spiritualis Pater obiit.


Also Blessed Cororanus an author of the same age in his Panegyric on S. Gormgalius and other Holy Hermits of the same island, relates that along with S. Gormgalius rest there Saints, Maelsuthunius, Celecharius, Dubthacus, Dunadach, Cellachus, Tressachus, Ultanus, Maelmartinus, Coromacchus, Conmachus and many others.



XX JanuariiAA.SS. p. 135

XXI. S. Fechin went also on another occasion to a certain place (situated) in the territory of Hy-Fiachrach Aidhne (11), which is called Loch-Cutra ({Lough Cooter}); and when a ship was not {to be} had in the harbour, he marked the sign of the cross on a stone placed under his feet; and immediately being carried on the stone as if in a swift ship {a wonderful spectacle} he passed safe into the (an) island, which lies in the middle of that lake. And in witness of this miracle the stone is seen there in the aforesaid island, and through it grows the herb which in Irish is called Flothcheip or Foltchib (a leek). {& per illud creseit herba quae Hibernicè Flothchib, seu Foltchib nuncupatur}

XXII. On a certain night the holy man being in the Monastery of Easdara, was by an Angel instructed in his sleep that it was the divine will, that he should go to a certain Island of the Ocean, which is called Imaidh ({Omey, JOD}), placed (situated) in the western district (12) of Connaught; S. Fechin obeys the admonitions


of the Angel, & with the intention of gaining many souls to Christ, and increasing the monastic institute, he, accompanied by some disciples sought the just mentioned island where he proposed to dwell, and build a Church. But the inhabitants by the suggestion of the Devil contrived by all means to exclude him, whence at night they several times cast into the sea, the spades (ligones), axes (bipennes), iron tools (serramenta Ocle, saws, JOD) and other instruments which his monks used in the work of building; but as often as they were thus cast, so often being cast back on shore, they were found by the Monks in the morning. But when the man of God and his Monks, thus meeting with the opposition of the people, persisted in continual labours, watchings, and fasts, and the people hardened in malice denied them all nutriment (nourishment), at length two of his (the) brethren perished, being exhausted through want. But S. Fechin, having poured forth for his servants a prayer to the Lord in complying with whose will those


who were thus exhausted had perished, merited that they should be recalled to life. And when the rumour of the occurrence had reached the ears of the King Guarius the son of Colman, he took care that sufficient nourishment in meat and drink should be brought to S. Fechin; he added also his royal phial which even to this day is called Cuach Fechin .i. the Phial of S. Fechin. Afterwards all the Islanders being converted to Christ were baptized by S. Fechin and consigned themselves and their Island to the use and service of S. Fechin (and his successors.) The man of God founded also another Monastery in a neighbouring island, which was formerly called Inis-iarthuir, [but] at present Ardoilen (13).

NOTES p. 141

11. Ad lacum queudam in regione Hua Fiachrach-aidhne qui Loch-Cutra dicitur. c. 21. This is in the County of Galway in the territory which at present is called Clann-Ricard.

12. Ad insulam quandam Oceani nomine Immagia ({Omey, JOD}) c. 22. This from being a noble Monastery was made a parish Church of the Diocese of Tuam, in which S. Fechin, is held in great


veneration as the patron of the Church & Island; from which also we have received the Irish Book of the life of S. Fechin, of which we have made mention above in the notes to the former life of S. Fechin. n. 1.

13. In aliâ Insulâ, quae olim Inisi-arthuir (recte iarthuir, JOD), hodie Ard-oilen. c. 22. this Island is also in the Ocean, and is distant a few leagues towards the West from Immagia, and after S. Fechin S. Gormgalius, a man of celebrated sanctity, who died in the year 1017 on the 5th day of August, on which day according to Marian his birthday is observed, ennobled it very much by his anachoretic habits and most exact life. The elegant and very pious poem of B. Corranus, who flourished at the same time, concerning his praises and relics, is extant in my possession. See the Four Masters in the Annals at the year 1017, who say the Blessed Gormgalius the Archisinedrus (father Confessor), or principal Father of all Ireland died.



V MartiiAA.SS. p. 472

Of saints sprung from the family of S. Kieran. The Sanctilogium genealogicum relates the genealogy of fourteen Saints, descended from the house of S. Kieran, or the family of the Ossorians. To these the Calendar of Cashel at the 10th of June adjoins Benedict the brother of S. Kieran. ***

To these the Calendar of Cashel at the 10th of June adds S. Benedict; S. Benedict the son of Luagneus, son of Leth-triun, son of Birn of Dal-Birn of Ossory, Cowarb or successor of Endeus of Aran; and the brother of Kieran of Saighir; he is the Pope, who they say was in the island of Aran. Where in the genealogy of this Benedict it omits some generations enumerated above in the genealogy of S. Kieran.



VIII MartiiAA.SS. p. 564.

In Ireland {the feast} of Conanus, Conallus and Cronanus, Bishops and Confessors, says the Mart. Carthusianum at the 8th of March. We have treated of S. Conallus above; but none of {our} domestic Martyrologists places the Birth-day of S. Conallus on this day; but four different ones of them (1) hand down that S. Cronan is venerated on this day in the island Ardnenis or Araniensis which lies between the boundaries of Southern Connaught, and Northern Munster, which is called Thomond, but they do not call him a Bishop, nor do they define the time at which he flourished. Whence I would rather believe that he was Abbot of the Monastery of Aran unless he ruled an Episcopal see elsewhere. Of the many things, which I read in the lives of other saints concerning divers saints Cronans, I cannot describe


any to this {saint} on account of the multitude of the Saints of this name, to whom they seem the rather to be attributed.


[1.] Sed quatuor ex eis tradunt S. Cronanum coli hoc die. Thus the author of the Martyrology of Tallaght, S. Cronani Ardnensis, that is of Aran. Also Marian; Maguire and the Martyrology of Donegal at the same day

NOTES 199, 200.Tr: Th. p. 182. Tripartite Life part II.

Tulacensem, cui Nehemiam Episcopum proefecit Cap. 130. It is the parish Church now called Tulach-ruisc, in the same Diocese of Connor; in the Deanery of Dalmune, of which mention is here made. S. Nehemias Bishop is venerated in the Church of Druim-bertach on the 18th of February, and another Nehemias Bishop in Druim-dhallain on the 3rd of May, according to the cited Martyrologies. Also according to the same authors, and S. Aengus, and the Calendar of Cashel on the 14th of June is venerated S. Nehemias Abbot of Aran, the successor of S. Endeus; who, as the Calendar of Cashel and the Martyrology of Donegal hand down, was the brother of S. Kieran of Saighir, and therefore he could seem to have been the disciple of St. Patrick, as was


also his brother Kieran. But when the Four Masters in the Annals and the Martyrology of Donegal at the 14th of June hand down that the same Nehemias died in the year 654, he does not seem to have been the disciple of St. Patrick, and much less the Bishop placed by him over the aforesaid Church; as St. Patrick died before the year 493. And on account of the same reason he does not seem to have been the brother of S. Kieran; who, according to his own Acts flourished in Ireland before the coming of St. Patrick in the year 432. &, as the Four Masters in the Annals hand down, died at a very advanced age in the year 548. The cause of the error seems to have been, that the father of both is called Luagnius sprung from the people of the territory of Ossory. But as the father of Nehemias, according to the Calendar of Cashel, was Luagnius the son of Lethranus, the son of Birnnius; he ought necessarily to be different from the father of Kieran, who, the Sanctilogium Geneal. C. 21. & the Psalter of Cashel in the Genealogy of the Saints of Ireland hand down, was Luagnius the son of Ruamond Duach, the son of Conall, the son of Corpreus, &c. Whence Nehemias, the Bishop, the disciple of St. Patrick seems to be he who is venerated on the 18th of February or at least on the 3rd of May



Tr: Th: p. 407.

CV. S. Columba at one time visited S. Endeus and other Saints, who in great numbers led an Angelical life in the island of Ara; where when one day he himself and S. Baitheneus, and many others of the Holy inhabitants were passing through the churches (templa) and cemeteries, they met with a very old monument covered with a large stone. But when all admired both the size of the stone, and the antiquity of the tomb, S. Baithenus asks, who is buried in that monument? and when the Holy men, who inhabited the island, answered that that was by no means known to them; Columba who knew hidden things hearing the discourse, says, under that tomb rests Santal the Abbot of Jerusalem (89), whom the fame of the exhalted behaviour, austere life, and celebrated sanctity of the Saints of our country, formerly excited at Jerusalem, and having arrived hither death freed


him from exile, and transmitted to heaven his soul which was a stranger in the world, the remains of his flesh being deposited in this island. Saying these things he met with the admiration of the by-standers, and faith in his words which lest it might be dubious, a good Angel was immediately present, who confirmed the same things to Endeus and the rest of the company present.

CVI. Moreover S. Columba earnestly importuned Endeus that he would deign to grant him even a moderate portion of ground, in which he could either build a monastery or leave behind him some vestige of his solicitude, in that island, which, being trodden on by the foot-steps of Saints, and renowned for monuments, he loved exceedingly and venerated with great affection. But when Saint Endeus refused that resolutely, at least, says Columba, you will deign to indulge me with even as much as


this our cowl spread on the earth shall cover at the same time. But Endeus assented to that, because it appeared very moderate. Therefore Columba having obtained his wish, immediately puts off his cowl, and having put it off spreads it on the ground.

But O stupendous occurrence; the very small garment when spread out began by the divine power to be expanded and extended to such a degree, that immediately it covered an entire acre, which even to this day is called Gortan chochaill (Gort an Chochaill), that is campus cuculli in memory of the miracle, and would have covered the entire island had it not been quickly prevented.

But Endeus, indignant at that occurrence as tending to his {own} prejudice and that of his {people}, contracts the cowl; and totally retracting the grant which he had made before, affirms he would never


grant to Saint Columba even the smallest portion of the aforesaid island.(a) &c &c &c.


{Tr. Th. [p.] 451} 89. Santal Hierosolymitanus Abbas. Cap. 105. Sanctulus or Satanal seems rather the proper reading. Sanctulus Priest is venerated at Nursia on the 15th of December according to Philip Ferrarius in his General Catalogue &c. Also Satanal martyr on the 20th of July according to the Mart. of Tallaght & Marian Gorman.



(a) [Referred to on MS p. 331] The present tradition on the island is that St. Columbkill was very anxious to settle on the island of Aran, but that the other saints not liking him (ordered him to depart so far from them as to be outside the hearing of the bell in St. Eana's clogas). It (is) added that St. Enna and he fought at a place in the townland of Killeany, where they still point out the impression of Columbkille's ribs in the rock, for it appears that both the holy men - who were kings by birth - although they laid aside the sword of valour, still carried much of the regal pugnacity of their ancestors into their cloisters. But it appears that St. Einné was not so dwindled or emaciated as his antagonist, as he was able to dash him against the rock with so much force as to stamp upon it the impression of his emaciated ribs. Columb was however (of) a noble and symmetric figure before he wasted his constitution by fasting and mortification, but we learn from his Biographers that he mortified his body with so much austerity that he always left the impression of his ribs in the bed on which he lay. After his defeat by St. Enné he was obliged to quit the island of Aran, and the saints of the island were so inimical to him that they would not give him a boat to go home. This was not very charitable, and the present inhabitants would scorn to be guilty of such, for they lent Captain Richardson the best boat on the island to transport himself over to Galway Gaol even after he had eaten an ass, and made a mighty effort to stab a gentleman on the Island.


When Columb found that it was impossible to obtain a currach, he cast himself into the waves and swam across to the County Kerry with his clothes on! He landed at Bannaghbaun, and at the place where he landed a clear spring of water issued from the ground, which is still held in veneration in that country and its origin traced to this circumstance.

There is still extant in the Manuscript library of Trinity College, a poem entitled Columbkill's Farewell to Aran, and which was published with a very faithful translation by O'Flanigan in the Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Dublin, p. 180 et sequent. If this poem can be depended upon as a historical monument, it would go far to prove that there is some shade of truth mixed up in (with) this fable. Of this poem O'Flanigan gives his opinion that it is unquestionably the composition of St. Columbkill, who flourished in the Sixth century. I do not believe that it was ever composed by this Saint, but I believe that it may have been composed by an Irish Bard (as early) as the 9th or 10th century to commemorate St. Columb's visit to Aran, and to spread the fame of that island in order to induce the noble families of the west to select it as their Roimh Adhnaicte, or place of sepulture.


I shall here transcribe this poem as I think it throws some light on the early history of Aran. My translation will be found to differ from O'Flanigan's in some instances. Let the reader compare it with Baron Swedenborg's account of the spirits of the Planet Mercury and he will perhaps come to the conclusion that the prophets of ancient times had visits from angels as well as the modern ones.

Ceileabhradh uaim-si d'Áruinn,
Ceileabhradh truagh, mar shailim;
Misi com cur shóir co h-i
Is í fodhlai o'n dilinn.
Ceileabhradh uaim-si d'Áruinn;
Is é chrádhus mo chroídhe,
Gan beith thiar ar a tonduibh
Eidir dronguibh naemh nimhe!
Ceileabhradh uaim-si d'Áruinn
Do chráídh mo chroídhe credhail
Is é in ceileabradh fa dheóidh
Uch ní do'm dheóin an deghail!
Ceileabhradh uaim-si d'Áruinn
Is e an ceilebrad dúbhach;
Is í lán d'ainglibh finda;
Misi gan gilla um churach!
A Mhodháin mhóir, mhic Meirsheing
So-agh dhuit in ní rárdhim,
Misi dom chur ar aistir;
Tusa d'fastadh an Aruinn.
Uch is cian, on uch is cian!
Rom chuiredh o Aruinn thiar,
Go ria slogh. Monaigh amach,
Ar inchuibh na n-Albanach.
Mac de bhí, on mac De bhí;
Is é rom chuirsi co h-í;
'Sé tug d'Ennae, mor in rath,
Ara, róimh na n-ailithreach.
Ara ghrian, ón ara ghrian,
Mo chen loighes innti thiar;
Inann bheith fa n-a h-úir ghloin
Is fo úir Phóil is Phedoir.
Ara grian; ón ara grian,
Mo chen loígher inntí thiar
Inann bheith fa guth a cluicc
Do nech, is bheith a fochruicc.
Ara grian; on Ára grian
Mo chen loíghes innti thiar;
Gach aen téidh fo n-a h-úir ghloin
Nocha n-faicinn súil diabhoil.
Ara naímh, ón Ara naímh,
Mairg is bbidhbhuidh di mar ain (aen).
Go tugar dO tar a chenn
Gairdi saeghuil is ifrenn.
Ara naímh, on ara naimh,
Mairg is bidhbhuidh di mar aén
Thed as a clann is crodh
Bhedh fein tall ar droch chura.
Ara naímh, ón Ara naímh
Mairg is bidhbhuidh Di mar aén;
Is go d-tigid aingil do nimh,
D'á fis gach aen lá is tsechtmhain
Tig Gabrial gach Domhnach,
Uair is e Crist ro ordaigh;
Caeca aingel, ni fath fann,
Ag bennachadh a h-aithfreann.
Gacha Luain, ón gacha Luain
Tig Micheil, mór an buaidh,
Tricha aingel, maith a m-bés,
Do bhennachadh a reglés.
Gacha Mairt ón gacha Mairt
Tig Raphael arga naith
Do bhennachadh a tighe thall
Re frestal aige Arann.
Cedaín chruaidh, ón Cedaín chruaidh!
Tig Urial, mor an buaidh;
Go m-bennachann fo thrí
A roilgi arda aingli
Gacha Diardaín, on gacha Diardáin,
Tig Sarial, mór an mhaín,
Go sgailinn rath Dé don nimh
For leccaibh loma an lá sin.
Dia h-Aíne, on Dia h-Aíne,
Tig Rumael 'sa líne,
Gur ab lomlan gach súil De,
D'ainglibh finna fir-áille.
O chuan in Gharmain ille
Go h-ath Laighen Letlinde
Tigh Muire, mathair mhic Dé
Co n-a muiradh mar en re
Bid aingil anns a grafuin
Bennachaid i Dia Sathairn
Sin co bedh do bhethadh ann,
Acht estecht aingeal Arann,
Ferr na gach bethadh fo nimh
Estecht re na g-ceilebhraibh.
Farewell from me to Aran;
It is the sad farewell,
And it filled of angels bright;
I without an attendant in my Currach(30)
0! (great) Modan, son of Merseng,
Prosperity to thee what I say,
I being sent on a journey
Thou remaining in Aran.


(30) According to the tradition on the island he had not even a currach to sail across in!

(31) This name occurs in the poem on Aileach published in the Ordnance Memoir, but we have not been yet able to ascertain what people the Monachs were. O'Flanigan takes for granted that they were the inhabitants of the Island of Mona now Anglesea, but I have great doubts on that point as the Irish (always) called that Island by the name of Moin Chonain.

(32) O'Flanigan mistakes the meaning of this quatrane altogether; for he takes the name Enna for a common noun substantive which destroys the sense of the whole context.

Alas how far, alas how far,
I have been sent from Aran the west
To the host of Monach(31) away
Depending on the Albanians!
The son of the living, o! the son of the living God,
It is, who sent me to Iona;
It is he gave to Enna, great the prosperity
Aran the Rome(31) of pilgrims.
Aran thou Sun, - Oh Aran thou sun,
My affection lies in it (with thee) westward.
Alike to be under her pure earth {interred}
As under the earth of Paul and Peter!
Aran thou sun, - Oh! Aran thou sun,
My affection lies in it westward;
Alike to be under the sound of its bell(33)
For one, as to be in happiness celestial.
Aran thou sun, Oh! Aran thou sun,
My affection lies in it westward;
Each one who goes under its pure earth
Him no eye of demon views.
Sacred Aran! Oh sacred Aran,
Woe to him who is an enemy unto it;
For unto him is for it given
Shortness of life and hell!(34)


(33) The tradition is that the Saints of Aran ordered Columbkill to (quit the island and) depart outside the utmost limits of the sound of St. Enna's bell, and that he was obliged to obey this command with heartfelt disappointment, as he wished to erect a monastery on the island for monks from his own country. There is not a single church nor well on the island bearing his name, and the only monument there with which his name is connected is the rock bearing the impression of his ribs. If St. Enna had not a sufficient force of character to oppose Columbkill the latter would be at this day the patron of Aran.

(34) All this smells very strongly of the fabrication of an Aranite!

Saintly Aran, - Oh saintly Aran!
Woe to him, who is its foe;
His children and his cattle waste,
And himself shall in the other world be wretched.
Saintly Aran! Oh! saintly Aran,
Woe to him, who is its foe;
For Angels come from Heaven
To visit it every day in the week.(35)
Gabriel comes on every Sunday
For it is Christ, who ordered so,
And fifty angels, now weak cause,
Blessing its Masses (Sacrifices).
On every Monday, Oh, on every Monday
Michael comes - great the advantage,
With fifty angels - good their custom (bes, habit),
To bless her churches.


(35) It hath been granted me of the Lord to discourse and converse with spirits and angels who are from other Earths with some for a day with some for a week and with some for months. The Honble. Emanuel Swedenborg

On every Tuesday, Oh on every Tuesday,
Raphael comes, of mysterious(???) power
To bless its houses (in) which
The strangers (visitors) of Aran are attended.
On Wednesday hard, Oh, on Wednesday hard
Uriel comes, great the advantage;
So that he blesses thrice
Her cemeteries high, angelic.
On every Thursday, Oh! on every Thursday,
Comes Sariel, great the treasure,
So that he disperses God's benefits from heaven
On bare flags(36) on that day!!


(36) There are (whole) fields of (bare) stones in Aran, and in some places the surface is as smooth as marble polished. The best benefits Sarial could shower upon the bare flags or leaca loma of Aran would be a (few) showers of clay, for after such showers the drúchta. Déa (.i. ith ocus blicht) of the ancient Irish would follow. I fear that the good Sariel will never pour any of those benefits on the Rare stones of Aran. JOD.

On Friday, Oh! on Friday,
Ramael comes with his host
So that every eye is satiated with the sight
Of bright and truly beauteous angels.
From Garman's Bay along
Unto the Leinster-ford at Leighlin
Mary, mother of the son of God comes
And her train along with her
And angels among her host
To bless it on Saturday
Tho' there should (not) be of life in it,
But listening unto the angels of Aran
Better than any life under heaven
To hear their solemn canticles.

This poem is curious, though it bears internal marks of fabrication. It was evidently written (ficta est) to draw the attention of the chieftains of the west on Aran, to induce them to be interred where the angels would sing canticles over their graves. See another farewell address fathered on Columbkill in the Book of Fenagh, in which the (saint after blessing the people and sounding the praises of Fenagh) says or is made to say that the cemetery of St. Caillin should never be forsaken by the Conmaicne.



We learn from the list of the churches of this island furnished to Colgan by Maoilseachlainn O'Cadhla, or Malachias Quelaeus, that a group of churches stood at Killeany, and we learn from Roderick O'Flaherty that they were destroyed by Cromwell's officer to build the adjacent fort or citadel, as he calls it. Of the churches which existed on the townland of Killeany in Bishop Quelaeus's time only two remain at this day. The list furnished by him runs as follows:

1. The parish church commonly called Kill-Enda, lies in the County of Galway, and half Barony of Aran, and in it St. Endeus is venerated as patron on the 21st of March.

2. The church called Teghlach Enda, to which is annexed a cemetery in which the sepulchre of St. Endeus with one hundred and twenty other sepulchres, in which none but Saints were ever buried.


3. The church called Tempull Mac Longa dedicated to St. Mac Longius, is situated near the Parish Church, which is called sometimes Kill Enda i.e. Cella Endei, and sometimes Tempull mor Enda, i.e. the Great church of Endeus.

4. The church called Tempull Mic Canonn near the aforesaid parish church.

5. The Church called after the Blessed Virgin Mary, not far from the same parish church.

6. The church which is called Tempull Benain, i.e. the church of St. Benignus.

Of these six churches which were not far asunder only two remain, as I have already stated. Four of them formed a group and stood at the village (hamlet) Of Killeany immediately to the north of Cromwell's fort, but these were all destroyed about five years after Malachy Quaeleus had furnished his list to Colgan. These were, (1) the parish church (Tempull more Enda) which seems to have been a Templemore of the primitive ages, (2) Tempull Mac Longa, which was, no doubt a small chapel or oratory (3) Tempull Mic Canonns, (4) The church of the Blessed Virgin, which was surely a work of the 13th century {Compare with Templemurry on the Middle Island}.


On these churches O'Flaherty writes as follows in 1684.

Near the Castle of Arkin was St. Enna's church ({with its chapels}) and an abbey of St. Francis both demolished for building the citadel with their stones. So all devouring time!

Diruit, aedificat, mutat quadrata rotundis.

Of the six churches mentioned by Bishop Quaeleus two remain, because they were too far away to carry their stones for building the Citadel (Garrison). These are Tempull Benain and Teaghlach Enda. The former to the south of the fort (on the top of the hill) and the latter to the east near the sea shore, but the foundations of the churches destroyed by Cromwell's people are still to a great extent traceable, and the stump of a round tower still called Clogás Éinne. I made every cautious enquiry about the tradition preserved among the oldest inhabitants on the island, in connection with this stump, and after much trouble found it to be this. It was a slender round tower five stories high and about 48 feet in circumference at the base. It was erected by St. Einne as a Clogas or Belfry for his Templemore which (stood) in the hollow beneath it to the north. In the top of it St. Enné had a sweetly bell, which is believed


to lie buried in the ground some where in the vicinity of St. Enné's well. This tower as well as the Templemore and some chapels which stood in the hollow were pulled down by Cromwell's people to obtain materials for building their fortress. The stump of this tower now remaining measures 48feet. 9inches. in circumference and 16feet. 0in. in diameter. The greatest height is 4feet. 10in. but the ground is many feet raised. The greatest thickness of the wall is 4 feet.

Most excellent cement is used. A curious question here proposes itself in connection wilh the Round towers of Ireland about which modern writers have so ignorantly scribbled. Was this tower built by the same people (by whom) and at the same period at which Dun Aengus and Dun Conchobhair (were erected)? Dun Aengus was built in lhe first century. When was this round tower at Killeany erected? Dun Aengus has no cement whatever; the round tower at Killeany was built of hammered and chiselled stones, and cemented with most excellent lime and sand mortar! Is the round tower at Killeany as old as Dun Aengus? Will any rational antiquary answer this question in the affirmative? If the Pagans of Aran built the Round tower at Templemore Enné, with hammered and chiselled stones cemented with excellent mortar, why did they not erect their more important fortresses in the same style? If the pagans of Ireland erected round towers of this description any where, why are they not to be found at Tara, Emania, Cruachain, Taillteann (or) Aileach?

Close to this stump of a Round tower is St. Enné's well called Dabhach Einné, Dolium Endei, and in the hollow beneath it another holy well called Tobar na m-brathar (this well was called Tobar na mBrathar, that is, Well of the Friars, from its having been situated immediately to the west of the Franciscan Monastery erected here in 1450).

Stump of a round tower at Killeany.
'Stump of a round tower at Kill-Eany' (Wakeman).
[J.O'D.:] Clogás Éinde a n-Araind.

Nearly due East of Clogas Einné near the sea shore stands the little church called by Colgan Teaghlach Einda. Of this church O'Flaherly wrote as follows in the year 1684.

Not far from thence {Cromwell's Citadel} to the East remains a small chappell of St. Enna wherein (.i. in which) Sir Morogh O'Flaherty of Bonowan was buried Anno Domini 1666. The outside of this chappell N. East is the church yard where anciently were 120 graves of saints, in one of which Saint Enna was buried, where the stone laid over him is as yet to be seen together with divers other tombstones


still extant. Here numerous Saints interred {as in other parts of the island} rest in peace till the day of {the} General Resurrection.

Ara ghrian, ón ara ghrian,
Mo chen loíghesinnti thiar
Inann bheith fa ghuth a cluig,
Do nech, is bheith a fochruicc.

St. Columbkill's Farewell.

Dr. O'Conor states positively that the Round towers of Ireland are not those buildings called Claig-theachs (in the Irish annals), but I must reject the authority of that clever and turbulent man with the same disdain as I do that of Bud Gay O'Brien. Why should Doctors be telling lies!

Déanfamh fidh neimhedh d'ar sleaghuibh gaisciudh ina agaidh; & nocho nfácfam fídh Dé mhór-fheádhaibh a argúine gan torchur no tescadh acht fidh neimeadh námá; ocos sin uile do chosnam na fírinne nemdai; uair is ro mhor ocos is ro an ar bh-frithghnamh occ adradh do'n firinne cecip airm a d-tegmham fria. Is i ind firinde bandia na b-fellsam ocus na sencad n-uasal, ocus ni coir gairm écis na senchaidhe do thabhalrt do neoch san nach n-adraidh di febh d'adradais fileda do Brigit ingen in Dagdai, no sagairt na sen Romhánach d'a soeb-dhéithibh fein hi fidh neimed ioibh.


We shall make a Fee-nave-y of our warlike spears against him, nor shall we suffer one of his fees of argument to remain unprostrated or unfelled excepting only his celestial fees (fidh neimhedh), and all this in defence of sacred truth, for our enthusiasm in the adoration of truth (wher-ever we meet her) is very great and very remarkable. Truth is the Goddess of philosophers and noble historians and no one in the world deserves the name of antiquary or historian who does not worship her with the same fervent ardour by which the Irish poets adored Brigit the daughter of the Dagda, or the pagan priests of Rome their own divinities in the Fee-nave-y of Jupiter.

This is not a rebus though it looks very like one. The words (fidh neimhedh, án and frithgnamh) are used in their real meanings in the above sentence.

Aistreóir .i. uaistreóir in tan is cloc Cloigthíghe .i. íseal aithreóir in tan is lamh-chloch.

Commentator on the Brehon Laws.

This old chapel is still extant in good preservation, and measures 24 feet in length and 14 feet in breadth. It has been remodelled at a comparatively [recent period?], and the only parts of it now remaining which could be at all be attributed to the time of St. Enna is are the East gable and part of the north side wall. The east gable is built of large stones cemented with very good mortar of which but a small compliment was found necessary to be used in consequence of the size of the stones. This gable contains a small window {fuinneóigín} in the primitive style measuring on the outside 1ft. 7in. in height and in breadlh 8 inches at the top widening gradually to 10 at the bottom. On the inside it is 2ft. 3inches. high, 1ft. 2in. broad at the top and 1ft. 8in. at the bottom. The doorway is placed in the north wall within 2ft. 8in. of the west gable. It is in the modern pointed style and about five centuries old. It is 2ft. 2in. in breadth, and 4ft. 6in. high but the ground is a good deal raised. There is a small narrow window in this north wall 2ft. 7in. in height and 0ft. 7in. broad below, and 0ft. 6in. above. This window is decidedly of the same age with the doorway and was inserted when the building was remodelled. The east gable which is (certainly) coeval with St. Enna and, is as perfect as the day it was first finished. Il is 13ft 8inches high and 14 feet broad and the wall 2 feet thick.

The tomb of St. Enna and those of the other saints men-


tioned by Bishop Quelaeus and Roderic O'Flaherty are now all buried in the sand. There is a very ancient holy water font within this church and attached to it is a cemetery of considerable extent, but no tomb of any antiquity appears at present.

In comparing the west gable of this church with the east one, the most striking difference of style is observable: the former is built of small stones and a copious quantity of mortar, but the latter is formed of enormous stones with a very small quantity of cement. One of these stones placed near the ground extends nearly the whole breadth of the gable!

The entire of this east gable is in the same style and of the same age with the round lower mentioned on page 178 [i.e. MS p. 347]. It is to be regretted that the Templemore of St. Enné has been destroyed, for if we judge by this specimen of the masonry preserved in his chapel, we must come to the conclusion that it was a fine specimen of primitive Irish architecture. One stone either belonging to this Templemore-Einde or to the round tower has been found in the wall of Cromwell's fort and removed to Mr. O'Mailley's house. It is elaborately ornamented, and seems to be a part of the pedestal of a cross very similar to the one at Tuam, but several centuries older. A sketch of it is annexed [Fig. 135}, to ask the question, Was it carved by the same people who erecled Dun Conchobhair?

Oranmented stone found at Killeany.
'Oranmented stone found at Killeany, & now removed to Mr. O'Malley's house. Sketched by WF Wakeman.'

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Colgan gives the following list of the successors of St. Enna in Aran from the annals of the Four Masters.

Concerning the principal church of this island and its prelates take the following from the Four Masters in their Annals

Anno 650. St. Nemius or Nehemias Hua Birn Coarb {i.e. successor} of St. Endeus of Aran died on the 14th June.

755. Goimdibla, abbot of Aran, died.

865. Moeltuile, the son of Gobhann, abbot of East Aran, died. (Arania Orentalis is Inis Oirthir not the Great Island - J. O'Donovan.)

916. Egnechus Coarb of St. Endeus of Aran, Bishop and Anchorite, died.

1010. Flann Hua Donnchadha, Coarb of Endeus, died.

1020. Aran was destroyed by fire.

1081. Aran was devastated by the Northmen or Danes.

1110. Flann Hua Hoedha, Coarb of Endeus of Aran, died.

1114. Moelcolumb Hua Cormacain, Coarb of Endeus of Aran, died.

1167. Gilla-Guaire O'Duvegan, Coarb of Endeus of Aran, died.


It appears from Clynn's annals that the isle of Aran and Bofinne were plundered and burnt, and hostages taken from them by Sir John Darcy, Lord Justice of Ireland, who surrounded these islands with a fleet consisting of 56 sail.

The last abbot of Killeany of whom any account is given was Donatus O'Leyn (O'Laighin), as we learn from Roderic O'Flaherty.

His {St. Enna's} successor abbots of Aran continued, as I suppose, to the time of suppression of Abbeys; the last of whom I find recorded was Donatus O'Leyn, abbot of Aran Anno Dni 1400.

We learn from Colgan, p. 714, of Acta SS. that a Franciscan monastery existed near Templemore-Enné, and if we can depend on Allemande {who is not very trustworthy} it was founded in the year 1485. Archdall quoting Allemande and Colgan makes mention of this monastery, but he (does not) know which of the three islands it was on; whereas Colgan distinctly mentions that it was on the Great island, which however, as I have already shewn, he makes the most eastern.

Et haec prima insula praetor Conventum nostri Seraphici ordinis St. Francisci, continet 13. Ecclesias.

Acta SS. p. 714 Col. 2, Cap. 7.

"Arannae {Insula est in oceano jacens inter extremos Conatiae et Momoniae fines olim ad Momoniam nunc verò pars agri Galviensis} Conobium fundatum A. 1485", Hibernia Dominicana, p. 747.

View of Teaghlach Eindé from the North east with Teampull Beanain in the distance to the right on the summit of the hill.
'View of Teaghlach Eindé from the North east with Teampull Beanain in the distance to the right on the summit of the hill' (Wakeman).

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The church called Tempull Benainn by Bishop Quelaeus is still in good preservation, it being too far away from the group near Cromwell's fort to have its stones carried thither, and the ground between it and the fort too rugged. This saved it from destruction!

Tempull Benain (situated on the top of the hill to the South-west of the Round Tower), is now corruptly called Tempull Mionnain in Irish and "The hermitage" in English from some modern Maniac who took up his residence in it. It is a very small Church built of enormous stones with a small quantity of cement.

This little church lies North and South, which is very uncommon with churches of the primitive ages, which are in a thousand instances to one placed East and West. The altar however was placed on the East side for the only window in the little edifice is placed in the East wall. We have an instance of another church having been erected at Deny in this way. It was the celebrated Duv-Regles of St. Columbkill of which Manus O'Donnell, prince of Tir-Connell, wrote as follows about the year 1520:

Many other signs and miracles were wrought by this Servant of Christ in the same place, in which he himself dwelt for a long time, and which he loved above every other; and particularly that beautiful grove very near the monastery of Derry, which he wished should be always left standing. And he gave orders that should any of its trees be prostrated by a storm or through decay, it should not be removed until after the expiration of nine days, after which one tenth part should be given to the poor, one third


be reserved for the hearth of the guests, and the remainder be distributed among the people. From this veneration for the grove when the holy man was about erecting the church commonly known by the name of the Duv-Regles he preferred that the foundation of the building should be laid in a transverse position, leaving the grove untouched, which by its density and contiguity rendered the place narrow, (rather) than the building should, according to the usual custom, be made to look to the East, by clearing away a part of the grove for that purpose. But that he might not appear to deviate too much from the usage of the church, he ordered that the sacred altar, upon which he himself offered Sacrifice, should be placed at the east side of the building. The ruins of that church, remaining at this day {1520} shew clearly that such was its situation.

Trias Thau, p. 398.

The little church of St. Benignus measures on the outside 15ft. 1in. in length and 11ft. 3in. in breadth. Its doorway (which looks very high & narrow) is placed in the north gable, and commands a beautiful view of Casla bay and Cuan an Fhir Mhoir. It measures


in height 6feet. 3in., and in breadth at top 1ft. 3½in. & at the bottom 2feet. 0in. The thickness of the wall in which it is placed is 1ft. 11in. The lintel which traverses this doorway at the top is 5ft. 6in. long, 1ft. 11in. in depth (height) and 2ft. 0in. in thickness.

The little window in the east wall under wch. the altar was placed, is a genuine specimen of the windows in the most ancient churches in Ireland, being several centuries older than the lancet headed and shamrock-headed windows erroneously supposed by some antiquaries to belong to the primitive ages. It is 1ft. 3in. in height to the top of the little arch, and in breadth on the inside 1feet. 7in.; on the outside it is 4 inches wide. The original height of the side walls of this little oratory was 7ft. 4in. The north gable is now 15 feet high, but it can be calculated to a demonstration that when perfect it was 17 feet.

In the west wall there is a large flag stone placed edgewise, which is 4ft. 8in. broad, 4ft. 4in. high and 11 inches thick. {See sketch.}

This little oratory is curious as being a coeval erection with Benignus the disciple of St. Patrick and his successor in the See of Armagh. See my letter on Kilbannan near Tuam, and on Leacht Mionain at the foot of lhe Conical part Of Croaghpatrick.


At the distance of 13 feet to the North (west) of Tempull-Beanáin are the ruins of a little cloghan partly under ground measuring 10 feet in length and 5ft. 4in. in breadth. Its doorway is in the east side and measures 2feet. 3in. in breadth. The thickness of the wall is 3 feet.

From the contiguity of this cloghan to the church one must feel inclined to think that it (was) built as a dwelling house for the saint of the church, but why was it not cemented like the church, or like St. Columbkill's house at Kells?

A short distance to the North-west of this little Cloghan is another Cyclopean house of angular form and very rude masonry. It measures from north to south 11ft. 8in. and across in the other direction 6ft. 10in. It was entered by two doorways, of which one is nearly destroyed and the other in a tolerable state of preservation measuring in breadth 2ft. 2inches. and 3ft. 3in. in thickness; but its height could not be ascertained without going to great trouble in clearing away the stones. Its lintel is 4ft. 8inches. in length, 1ft. 8in. in thickness and 8 inches high. There is a little chamber off it at the west side measuring 4ft. 9in. in length, 4ft. 0in. in breadth and 4ft. 1in. in height.

At the distance of 139 paces to the North-west there is another Cloghan of the same kind but so ruined that no accurate dimensions of it could be given. It consisted of several small chambers leading from a larger one in the centre.

Teampull Beanain.
'Teampull Beanain now called Teampull Minnaun' (Wakeman)
Stone to the south of Teampull Beanáin.
'Stone to the south of Teampull Beanáin' (Wakeman)
Window in the east wall of Teampull Beanáin.
'Window in the east wall of Teampull Beanáin.' (Wakeman).


The oldest reference to this church hitherto discovered is to be found in the list of the churches of the Diocese of Tuam sent to Colgan by (Arch-)Bishop Quelaeus shortly before the year 1645. In this list it is stated that a monastery called Mainistir Connachtach occupied the site of this church, but the writer does not inform us whether he drew this from tradition, or written authority, though it is probable he drew it from both as will presently appear. The words of the Catalogue are:

Ecclesia Mainistir Connachtach .i. Monasteriuin Connaciense, appellata, cujus postà diruti loco extructa est capella sancto Kierano dicata, i.e. The church (called) Mainistir Connactach, that is the Connacian Monastery. This was afterwards destroyed and on its site a chapel dedicated to St. Kieran was erected.

It is very probable that the Connacian Monastery was also dedicated to St. Kieran, as the spot on which it stood was the theatre of his labours while he was serving his apprenticeship with St. Enné, for it was here he performed the duties of a thresher so well for seven years, and so well that he threshed all the straw into corn, and thus obliged the islanders to roof their houses with stone. {Why had they not recourse to Straw island?}

The oldest reference to the (townland of) Abbey land on which this church stands, is to be found in Augustin Mac Raidin's life of


St. Enna, in which the following strange passage occurs: I quote it here to have an opportunity of correcting a word misprinted by Colgan:

Ad nunc quoque virum Dei Sanctus Keranus filius Fabri perveniens septem annis in Monasterii territorio (Fearann na Mainistreach) fideliter serviens mansit. In his quoque septem annis sic diligenter exercebat trituratoris officium, ut in paleario territorii non posset granum {(stramen) rectè Stramenn (Tecta stremine casa, a cottge; Ovid Metamor, 5447) quod culmen faceret inveniri. Unde usque hodie manent muri territorii sui apud Arann ({lapidibus testi}).

Acta. SS. pp. 708, 709.

St. Kieran Mac Intyre coming to this man of God ({Enna}) remained for seven years diligently serving in the territory of the monastery. And during these seven years he performed the duty of a thresher so diligently that no Straw (not grain) could be found in the Barn of the territory (abbey-land) which would make a roof {i.e. fit to thatch withal}. Hence to this day the houses (muri) of his territory remain in Arann, {that is without straw (thatched) roofs}.

This Chapel of St. Kieran, which, as Archbishop Quelaeus (Queleus, O'Cadhla) states, was erected on the site of Mainistir Connachtach, is still in very good preservation, and evidently modern. It is 43ft. 6in. in length and 25ft. 0in. in breadth, and the walls 2ft. 9½in. in thickness. The west gable contained a square doorway now built (up), and another doorway was broken into the north wall. Neither (of them) is very ancient though the former presents some of the characteristics of the primitive doorways found in the west gables of primitive churches, it being 2ft. 11in. wide at the top, and 3ft. 1in. at the bottom, (6 feet high) and covered at the top with a lintel 5ft. 1in. long and 11 inches high.

Stone on a small mound a musket shot to the North east of St. Kieran's chapel
'Stone on a small mound a musket shot to the North east of St. Kieran's chapel' (Wakeman)
View of the window in the east gable of St. Kieran's chapel, in Monaster, from the outside.
'View of the window in the east gable of St. Kieran's chapel, in Monaster, from the outside' (Wakeman)
Cross-inscribed stones at St. Kieran's chapel, Monaster.
'Cross-inscribed stones at St. Kieran's chapel, Monaster' (Wakeman).

The doorway inserted in the north wall is in the pointed style, and not worth description.

The east gable contains a window of considerable size and beauty, but a good deal injured. It is very narrow on the outside but gradually widens on the inside to 5ft. 2inches. On the outside it [is] 7ft. 9in. in height, and in breadth 5 inches at the top and 6 inches at the bottom. On the inside it is 11ft. 9in. in height.

A stone (ornamented with a) Cross stands opposite this window on the outside. It is perforated near the top and seems to be used for superstitious purposes, but I have not ascertained how it is used. There is another stone with a large cross sculptured on it opposite the South west corner, and two others in a field to the N: East. From these crosses it is probable that ancient Mainistir Chonnachtach was erected into a termon or sanctuary.



This is the ninth church mentioned by Dr. Quelaeus as extant on Aranmore in his time. He says that it was held in the highest veneration by the islanders.

Ecclesia vocata Tempull-Assurnuidhe, quae dicata fertur S. Assurnuidhe {vel Essernino forté}; et haec est in maxima veneratione apud Insulanos.

Acta SS. p. 715.

It is a very small and rude church measuring 20 feet in length and 14ft. 6in. in breadth. (The walls are 3ft. 6in. thick.) There was a window in the east gable but it is now so injured that I could form no idea of its (original) characteristics. Its doorway which was in the west gable is rendered featureless. The masonry is of very inferior character.

There is a small apartment adjoining the east gable called St. Soorney's Bed, in which people sleep (expecting) to be cured of diseases, and about 20 paces thence to the east there is a holy well called Bullaun na Surnaighe.

It is now believed that St. Soorney {whose real locality is near Clarin Bridge to the South of Galway,} was a woman! See my letter on Lough Derg in which I shew that oral tradition has unsexed St. Dabheog. See also the notice of Kill-Canonach given in page [?]



This church, (which) is situated near the little village of Couroogh, is, like the last mentioned, very rude in its masonry and very much ruined. It is 28 feet long and 12ft. 6in. broad. The doorway is in the north wall but nearly destroyed; it is 2ft. 5in. in breadth. The east gable contained a window 2ft. 5in. in breadth on the inside but its characteristics cannot now be ascertained as it is just destroyed.

To the South east of this little church there is a holy well called Bullaun an Cehrair aluinn, i.e. the basin of the four beauties, which is held in great veneration by the islanders.

Outside the east gable there is a small square enclosure called Leaba an Cheathrair aluinn, i.e. lectus quatuor pulchrorum in which the islanders are wont to sleep from a belief that they will by so doing obtain relief from diseases. {See my letter on the church of Kill-Barry in O'Hanly' s Country in the Co. of Roscommon}

To the west of this church are shewn four flags said to mark the graves of "the Four Beauties". But as they exhibit no inscription, cross or ornament


I incline to doubt that they are the grave-stones of these beautiful and holy men. Immediately (to the west of this church) there is a large pillar stone said to mark the spot where another saint rests, but as it exhibits no cross I feel more inclined to suppose it a pagan monument. Farther to the west there is another very high pillar stone said to mark the grave of a great saint. Is it not extraordinary that these pillars were never inscribed?

I requested Mr. Wakeman to cut the following inscription on it, but in consequence of the constant rain, while he was on the island, and (the) great labour he had to undergo in sketching the antiquities, he has not erected a monumentum aere perennius.

Lie in chéthrair áluinn .i. Fursa, Brennann, Cona11 ocus Berchán.

Oraibh do S. Petrie prim-éces h-érend hi n-eolus in tsenchuis ocus fer timairgthi cech neithe bhenus do ma senuibh. Oraibh do Sheaghan Mac Emoind óig mic sen Emoind, mic Uilliam, mic Chonchobhair, mic Emoind' Ui Donnabhain o'n m-ban leathan, do scrúduigh s'enchus ocus sen-foirghnemha Arann isin m-bliadhain d'oeis Christ M.D.CCCXXXIX. Oraibh do Uilliam og Wakiman fris ar litdhelbhadh reglesa Arann is in m-bliadain cetnau.

A chethair aluinn bhennuighthe! Berther ár n-dúthracht tríbh-si i fiadnuise in dulemhan ár nit fiu sinn féin ár n-éstecht.

Rerum gesturum monimenta et vetustatis exempla nota esse debient. Cui? Oratori!


Exegi monumentum aere perennius.


Monumental pillar-stones at Teampull an Cheathrair aluinn, Inishmore.
Monumental pillar-stones at Teampull an Cheathrair aluinn, Inishmore; the text on MS p. 372 refers to the inscription on the stone on the left (Wakeman).

The names of these four saints who were beautiful and virtuous are now forgotten on the island of Aran, but Archbishop Quaeleus has fortunately preserved their names for posterity in the list of the churches of the diocese of Tuam sent to Colgan shortly before the year 1645.

Ecclesia dicta Tempull an ceathruir aluinn .i. Quatuor pulchrorum; qui sunt Sancti Fursaeus, Brendanus Birrensis, Conallus & Berchanus; quorum et corpora uno eodem feruntur sepulchro sepulta, jacente in caemiterio ejusdem ecclesiae.

There is no cemetery now attached to this church but it (is) probable that the tomb here mentioned by Dr. Quaeleus is the very place now pointed out as the (burial or adlacadh) of the Ceathrar aluinn; but then this is rather (should be called) four graves rather than one grave, and the Dr. should have written "quorum et corpora quatuor diversis feruntur sepulchris (sepulta) jacentibus in caemeterio ejusdem ecclesiae". For the flags lie in a row and are so far asunder that they could not be properly called one grave.


I have not the lives of any of those saints so as to be enabled to form any idea of the correctness or incorrectness of the tradition of their being interred here, but I would venture on the opinion that the great St. Fursey of Peronne was not buried here, nor is it very probable that St. Brendan of Birr was either.

I do not know the locality of St. Berchan the Comely, for I never saw a life of him nor any notice whatever of his acts or period, except that he was cotemporary with (and a disciple of) St. Kevin who was also a remarkable specimen of Irish comeliness (Coem-li-ndes). The following nice little story about him in lhe life of St. Kevin preservd. in the Codex Kilkenniensis now deposited in Marsh's library, is amusing, as illustrative of the (moral) simplicity of the times in which it was written:

A man named Cronanus who was first a tanner but afterwards became a holy and pious


man before God and men and built a noble cell (kirk) for God, sent a message to Saint Kevin requesting that he would send a faithful and proper brother to him through whom he might transit his own secrets to St. Kevin. St. Kevin without hesitation sent him Berchan a monk alone according to the custom of ancient times. That brother commencing his journey through woods and desert mountains, met a woman alone on the way waiting for a guide to conduct her through the desert, and she seeing Berchan, said to him: 0 man of God! for the sake of the omnipotent Lord, permit me to go with you through the wilderness. The brother (monk) therefore, for the sake of the Lord permitted her in her faith to go with him until he should conduct her through the desert as far as her own village. On observing the beauty of Berchan she was captivated in his love for he was truly beautiful and then in the flower of youth. She tempted him frequently with alluring language. At length on their coming to a certain river she said to him: I request of you Sir (Domine!), in the


name of Christ to wait for me till I take a drink of water, and bathe myself in the river, for I am now wearied with travelling. She did this wishing to shew him the beauty of her person. On her stripping off her clothes St. Berchan laid his head on the ground not wishing to look at her, and he was overcome on the spot with sleep. The woman coming out of the water and seeing him asleep was very desirous of lying along with him, and lifting up the cloak of the brother (monk) began to lie down by his side embracing him with her hands. But the soldier of Christ being roused from his sleep, resisted her with fortitude, and extricating himself from her grasp, began to strike her with his staff on the back and sides.

Now St. Kevin and St. Cronan saw all these proceedings, by the divine power, far off in their cells, and St. Cronan said: Act manly, O! good brother Berhan by scourging the immodest woman; but the most holy Kevin: O! son Berchan, indulgent spare, and do not beat the wretched woman. (By the will of God) The blessed monk Berchan heard (far off in the desert) these words, expressed by the Saints sitting in their own cells, and hearing the command of his master St. Kevin, he ceased from striking the woman, who doing penance was conducted by St. Berchan through the wilderness as he


promised, and, magnifying the sanctity of the man of God told her friends what had been done on the way. St. Berchan coming to the cell of Saint Cronan was received with joy, and St. Cronan on account of his manly resistance, &c.

How would the author of the pamphlet printed in Dublin in 1710, savour this story? That Christian entitles (titules) his Pamphlet! "Reasons humbly offer'd to both houses of Parliament (Parliment) for a law to enact the castration or gelding of Popish ecclesiastics in this kingdom as the best way to prevent the growth of Popery."

Un-man the Fryar
Your wives and daughters will soon leave their cells
When they have lost the sound of Aran's bells.>


Ara ghrian, ón ara ghrian
Mo chen loíghes innti thiar,
Inann bheith fa ghuth a cluig
Do nech, is bheith a fochruicc!

Turn over the pages of his history and see what a brute man is! and why is he, was he, and will he be so? No man that is, was or ever will be, could answer this question to my satisfaction. If men had no other cause of difference those who have long noses would feel it their duty to wage war on those who have short noses and make long and powerful speeches to justify their motive.


Whether this very handsome saint was interred in Aran or not is more than I am prepared to affirm or deny. Is it not most extraordinary that no inscription is to be found on any of the gravestones of those saints?


This church is situated in the townland of Kilmurvy and close to the house of Patrick O'Flaherty Esq. Justice of the Peace, and is a curious specimen of the ancient and modern styles mixed up together. Dr. Quaeleus calls it "pulchra ecclesia".

Ecclesia Tempull (Mic Duach) .i. templum S. Mac Duachi {qui et Colmanus cognomento Mac Duach appellatur}; quae est pulchra Ecclesia ei Sancto dicata.

This Church is a little Damhliag being divided into nave and choir. The nave is 18ft. 6in. long and 14ft. 6in. broad, and the choir 15ft. 9in. long and 11ft. 9in. broad. The south wall of the choir contains a triangular headed window 4ft. 1in. high and 2ft. 7in. broad at top and bottom. The east gable contains a round-headed window measuring inside 7ft. 7in. in height, and in breadth 4ft. 1½in. at top and 4ft. 3in. at bottom; on the outside it is only 4ft. 1in. in height and in breadth 5 inches at the top and 6 inches at the bottom. The stones forming this window are small but beautifully chiselled. The choir arch is 12ft. 4in. high, and in breadth where the arch springs 9ft. 2in. and at the bottom 9ft. 6in. The thickness of the wall of this arch 2ft. 10in.

View of Teampull Mac Duagh, from the back of the house of Patrick O'Flaherty, Esqre.
'View of Teampull Mac Duagh, from the back of the house of Patrick O'Flaherty, Esqre. WF Wakeman delt.'
Doorway in west gable of Teampull Mac Duagh, Inishmore.
'Doorway in west gable of Teampull Mac Duagh, Inishmore' (Wakeman).

The south wall of the nave contains a window 4ft. 0in. high; 1ft. 5½in. broad at the top inside and 1ft. 9½in. at the bottom. On the outside it is only 2ft. 4in. in height and its breadth is 8 inches at the top and 10 inches at the bottom.

The doorway is placed in the west gable and is the finest specimen of the semi Cyclopean style I have yet seen. I here annex its dimensions.

Height 5ft 5in.The lintel is 5ft. 1in. in length and 1ft. 7in. in height,
Breadth 1ft. 11½in. at top and extends the entire thickness of the wall.
Breadth 2ft. 3in. at bottom
Wall 2ft. 6in. in thickness

The lintel is a splendid block of granite, but it was somewhat disfigured by a Scotchman who wished to drag it out (remove it) for the purpose of converting (it) into a quern, but before he had time to drag it out of the wall Mr. P. O'Flaherty, who has a great veneration for St. Mac Duagh, came upon him and prevented him from committing what antiquarians and people of piety must term a sacrilege.


[Page has been left blank except for the following, written at the centre:] St. Mac Duach's well a deep and cool Uaran lies in the immediate vicinity of the church near Mr. O'Flaherty's garden. It should be shewn on the Ordnance map as a most important feature.


The side walls of this church are 2ft. 6in. thick and 11ft. 1in. high. A stone ornamented with a cross stands nearly opposite the west gable and measures 7 feet high and 2ft. 1in. broad.

The west gable of this church and the side walls as far as the choral arch are of the original building without any doubt; but the choral arch, and I think all the choir has been remodelled, for the stones in the choir and the middle gable are much smaller than in the other parts of the building, and much more mortar has been used in cementing them. The triangular headed window in the South wall is hardly ancient.

Note by Mr. Wakeman written on the spot. Compare with sketch, p. 209 [i.e. MS p. 380].

For some notices of the age and acts of this Mac Duach, who is the patron Saint of the O'Shaughnessys see my letter on Kilmacduagh written at Gort Inse-Guaire.

To the South east of Mr. P. O'Flaherty's house at Kilmurvy, there is a square little church in ruin, measuring 15ft. 5in. in length and 11ft. 5in. in breadth. The walls are 1ft. 11in. thick. There was a window in the east gable wch. is now totally destroy[ed] and a doorway measuring 1ft. 11in. in breadth in the west one, which is also destroyed. No name is now remembered for this church.

In the north west of the townland of Kilmurvy there is a little water in the rock {the surface of this part being a solid lime stone rock with large chinks} called Ballán Mhaoil Odhair, Maloder's basin, which is considered holy, though no one remembers who Maloder was.


In the same townland of Kilmurvy about ½ mile East of Mr. O'Flaherty's house, are visible the indistinct foundations of a church, which is said to have given name to the townland of Kilmurvy, which means the church of Muirbheach or Sea plain. It is at present however called Eatharla, a name which seems to signify a cemetery. {See notice of Eatharla na Kinerge on the Middle Island}

Stations are performed here with great solemnity on Good Friday, on which the pilgrims walk round the whole island keeping keeping as near the strand or edge of the cliffs as they can.

There is another little square enclosure at Kilronan with an elder tree growing in the centre of it, called Eatharla, but I do not believe that it was ever a burial place. There is a tradition that there was a church near it called after St. Ronan, but it must have been a long time destroyed as Dr. Quaeleus takes no notice of it in the list of the churches of Aran which he sent to Colgan shortly before the year 1645. It is however certain from the name Kilronan that a church must have existed here at some period, whenever it was destrOyed. It is stated that there was a well here called Tobar Ronain, but it was lately stopped up.



This church is situated in the townland of Onaght which forms the western part of the island. It is said to have received its name from a Saint Brecan, who (according to tradition) was a cotemporary with Saint Enné, and who was buried in the church yard nearly opposite the south east corner. It is said that this Saint's grave was opened about fourteen years ago, and that his head stone was discovered with this short inscription Cenn Brecain, i.e. caput Brecani; but on enquiring for this stone I was informed that it was carried away some ten years since (by the consent of the priest) by a gentleman of taste for antiquarian research. (Some say it was carried to Dublin.) Where it is now no one knows. One old man says that it was first dug out of the ground by Don Pedro, a Spanish gentleman, who said that it was the head stone of St. Brecan, the patron saint of this side of the island. Who can this Don Pedro have been?

Dr. Quaeleus writes the following short notice of this church shortly before the year 1645.

Ecclesia pulchra et olim parrochialis, Templum Brecain .i. Templum Brecani vocata; eidem Brecano


dicata: in quâ et ejus festum celebratur 22. Maii.

This church contains some features in the primitive style but the greater part of it is the work of comparatively modern times. It measures in length 56 feet and in breadth 18ft. 4in. It is divided into nave and choir, and, what is very unusual, both are exactly the same breadth. The choir arch is 9ft. 10in. broad and 11ft. 0in. high; and from the (present) level of the floor to the point at which it begins to spring 6ft. 3inches., where its wall is exactly 3ft. 0in. in thickness.

There is a (lancet headed) window in the east gable measuring on the inside 4ft. 11in. in breadth and 10ft 8in. in height, and on the outside, 6ft. 7in. in height, and in breadth only 6 inches at the top and 7 inches at the bottom. The south wall contains a window which measures on the inside 7ft. 6in. in height, and on the outside 4 feet in height and in breadth 4 inches at the top find 5 inches at the bottom.* There is a very rude triangular-headed window in the north wall near the ground, measuring 3ft. 0in. in height to the apex and 2ft. 0in. in breadth.

The south wall contains another window which is nearly destroyed and a doorway in the round style measuring 6ft. 2in. in height and 2ft. 10in. in breadth

* This window and the whole of the gable in which it is placed are many centuries more modern than other parts of the church. See sketch on page 223 [i.e. MS p. 394], and compare with Temple Kieran p. 198 [i.e. MS p. 366], Temple Beanain p. 192 [i.e. MS p. 363], and Teaghlach Eindé p. 185 [i.e. MS p. 356], and you will see the obvious difference between ancient and modern windows.


and the breadth (thickness) of the wall 2ft. 11in. The choir arch is also round and the stones very beautifully cut.

A short distance to the south of St. Brecan's church is situated Teampull a Phoill, i.e. the church of the hollow, which is (also) noticed by Dr. Quaeleus in his list of the churches of the Diocese of Tuam in the 17th century

13 Ecclesias praedictae Ecclesiae S. Brecani vicina, quae vulgo Tempull a' Phuill appellatur.

Acta SS. p. a15.

It is a small and evidently modern church measuring 26 feet in length and 13ft. 7in. in breadth. The window in the east gable is on the inside 5ft. 3in. high and 3ft. 10in. broad, and on the outside 4ft. 7in. high and 6 1/3 inches broad. It does not vary its breadth inside or outside like the primitive windows. The doorway is in the north side wall and measures 5ft. 3in. in height and 2ft. 9in. in breadth.

Tradition says that there was a group of seven churches here, but I feel very sceptical on this point, for even though the ruins of several buildings remain they do not appear to me to have been churches but monastic houses;


besides Dr. Quaeleus, who was (is) no slender authority, mentions two churches only as (in) existence here in his own (time), viz Tempull Brecain and Tempull a' phuill, and these (as we have seen), remain to the present day.

A short distance to the north of St. Brecan's church are the ruins of a house 36 feet long and 12ft. 6in. broad. It faces north and south and was entered by two doorways facing each other, (the) one in the east and the other in the west side.

North of St. Brecan's church (and near the latter) there is also another similar house measuring 34 feet in length and 16ft. in breadth. It is now featureless and only a few feet of the height of the walls remain.

The ruin of another house is traceable a short distance to the east of the same church, and that of another to the south east, near which is shewn the Grave of St. Brecan, out of which Don Petro dug the saint's head stone exhibiting his name. To the north of St. Brecan's church there is a hole in the ground said to have been a holy well called Tobar an Spioraid naomhtha, fons spiritûs sancti, but it contains no water at present. The people are wont to say their prayers at it with great devotion when they perform stations at this place of St. Brecan, who was a true believer in the Trinity.


Tradition avers that the entire of the buildings just described were surrounded by a wall, one gate of which ({or rather doorway in which}) is yet extant, which is in the round style and very well built.

Not far to the north of the group of buildings just described are still distinctly traceable the walls of a square tower called by the natives An sean chaisleán, i.e. the old castle. When I first saw it I was convinced that it was a square tower Belfry like the one on Inis Cloithrinn, but I have been convinced from the traditions connected with it that (it) is a modern tower, perhaps of the 16th century. It was very small but strong, and measures 33 feet from East to West, and 29 feet in the other direction. The walls, which are not now far above the level of the ground, are 9 feet in thickness, which is enormous considering the dimensions of the building.

Near the North west Corner of St. Brecan's church, there is a stone exhibiting the following inscription.

Or ar mainach,, Oratio pro Maenacho.

Maenach was a proper name very usual among the O'Flahertys.

Stone with an inscription at St. Brecan's Church, Inishmore.
'Stone with an inscription at St. Brecan's Church, Inishmore' (Wakeman).

The name which is written here Mainach would be spelled according to the modern orthography Maonach, and in more ancient times Moenach or Maenach. In the account of the subdivisions of O'Flaherly' s Country I find that the name which is written Cailan in a MS. in Trinity College is spelled Caelan in the Book of Ballymote. See Pedigree of the O'Flahertys in which the name Maenach, now anglicised Mooney, occurs very frequently.

The church called Teampull Brecain, on Aran more.
'The church called Teampull Brecain, on Aran more' (Wakeman)' (Wakeman).
[J.0'D.:] Of this church the north portion of the west gable and about half the north are of the original work; all the rest is modern.
Cross-inscribed stone at St. Brecan's church.
Cross-inscribed stone at St. Brecan's church (Wakeman).
[J.O'D.:] Lapis cruce ornatus fonti nunc exsiccato, Spiritui Sancto dicato, incubans..
Features of Teampull Brecan.
'Features of Teampull Brecan: [a] Window in the east gable; [b] Doorway in the south side wall; [c] Window in the south wall' (Wakeman)

[Below sketch, hand of J. O'Donovan:] All these features are of the 13th century as will be evident from a comparison of them with primitive features described on pages 185 [i.e. MS p. 356], 192 [i.e. MS p. 363], 198 [i.e. MS p. 366].

Teampull a' Phoill near St. Brecan's
'Teampull a' Phoill near St. Brecan's' (Wakeman).

St. Brecan the patron of these churches was of the royal blood of Thomond being the son of Eochy Balldearg. He is set down in the Irish Calendar of the Four Masters at the 1st of May, thus:

Brecan easbag Arne
Mac Eochaidh Bailldearg do Dail gCais.
Brecon, Bishop of Aran
Son of Eochy Balldearg of the Dal-Cais.

All the churches mentioned by Dr. Quaeleus (as on Aranmore) are now identified with the exception of one which he calls Kill-na-manach. The name (is) no longer in existence and it is not now easy to discover its site. Quaeleus writes:

8. Ecclesia Kill-namanach .i. Cella monachorum, dicta, quae S. Cathradhoco, sive Caradoco Monacho, cognomenta Garbh .i. aspero, dicata est.

O'Flaherty also notices this church, but he does not tell us on what part of the island it stood:

There is another port for boats called Port Caradoc from St. Caradoc Garbh, to whom Killnamanach church in (on?) the island is dedicated; near the port is the pool of Lough na Ceanainne, whereof mention is made in St. Enna's life

{C. 19, Col. 2}

A subdivision of the island near the Chapel is still called after this saint Couroogh, and it would appear from the order in which Doctor Quaeleus enumerates the churches that Killnamanach stood on this division. He begins at Killeany and after enumerating the group destroyed in the time of Cromwell, and the other churches on that townland, he proceeds westwards to Monaster, immediately after


which he mentions the church in questionn, and after it Tempull Assurnuidhe and Teampull an cheathruir aluinn. After this he moves still westwards and names Teampull Mic Duach, which is at Kilmurvy, from which he proceeds to the most western on the island, viz Teampull Brecain and Teampull a' Phuill. From the position of Killnamanach in this list and from the situation of Port Couroogh I would infer that Killnamanach which was dedicated to Couroogh Garve, the Monk must have stood somewhere on the subdivision of Couroogh. Perhaps the old chapel occupies its site? The pool of Lough nacanony is still in existence near Port-Couroogh where O'Flaherty places it, but the tide now mixes with it.

Nearly in the middle of the island between Mr. O'Mailley's house in Killeany and the village of Kilronan and a little to the west of a small pool of fresh water, are the ruins of two (buildings evidently) ecclesiastical. One measures 18 feet in length and 11ft. 6in. in breadth, and the highest part of the wall is 6ft. 0in. About 40 paces to the south west of this stands a stone 6 feet in height with a beautiful cross within a circle sculptured on it. The upper part of this cross is very faintly delineated, but the lower part is strongly marked. See sketch.

Ruins of a building said to have been a church, lying near the lake in Aranmore.
'Ruins of a building said to have been a church, lying near the lake in Aranmore' (Wakeman).
Ancient stone near the lake on Aran more.
'Ancient stone near the lake on Aran more. WFW'.

[This page has been left blank.]



I have no document to prove the period at which this castle was erected, nor even any distinct reference to its history but the following reference in Roderic O'Flaherty's account of West Connaught:

The King's Castle (and manner) of Arkyn stood on the north side over the ship harbour, for the service of which castle all the patents in capite of West Connaught granted by Queen Elizabeth and King James were held; in place whereof now stands a citadel in the Usurper Cromwell's time erected.

And again

Near the Castle of Arkyn was St. Enna's church and an abbey of St. Francis both demolished for building the citadel with their stones. So all devouring time!

Diruit, aedificat, mutat quadrata rotundis.

[Horace, Epistles]

It appears from the Connaught Inquisitions that the three islands of Aran were (after the usual English custom), called the ½ Barony of Arkyn from this castle. In an Inquisition taken in the reign of Elizabeth the following passage occurs:

Extent supervisus et divisio omnium illarum terrarum et tenementorum infra insules de Aren & capt apud


Arkin infra praedict Insulas &c.

This Castle of Arkin must have been erected in the reign of Queen Elizabeth to command the O'Flahertys, and a better situation for such a fortress could hardly have been selected at that period. On the 16th of August 1607, it was found by Inquisition taken at Galway, that Teige na Buille O'Flaherty of Arde was chief of his name, and that he had the title of O'Flaherty since the time of Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Deputy; that he was seized in fee of the Castle of Arde (see notice of the Parish of Moyrus; Teige na Buille is still vividly remembered by tradition) and two cartrons called the two Ardes, and, under a division between him and others of his competitors of one half of Ballyndorvin and Ballinahinch; that as chief of his name or Tanist, he was seized in fee, of the castle and island of Ballinahinch, and the fishings of the River of Owenmore until one Teige Mac Morroughe ne dubh {.i. na d-tuagh} his two sons, and Murrough ne more {na maor} O'Flaherty dispossessed him of the same; that by the composition with Queen Elizabeth he was to hold the entire by Knight's service, as of the castle or manor of Ardkyn in the Great Island of Arren. See History of Galway p. 41, note.


Cromwell's fort, or Citadel as O'Flaherty calls it, is situated in the village of Killeany on the edge of a low cliff. The outer wall facing the sea is nearly perfect, but the inner parts have been demolished with the exception of a small round tower & some fragments here and there, now forming parts Of the walls of the fishermen's houses (cabins). Edax aetas!

Nihil semper floret; aetas succedit aetati.


I find no other remain on the large Island but a small (solid) tower of loose stones (locally) called Tor Mairtin (i.e. Turris Martini) situated on a hill in the Eastern extremity of the townland of Killeany. On Larkin's County Map it is called Gregory's monument, but (this) name was (probably) made by Larkin himself from its contiguity to Gregory's Sound.

It is a solid tower of loose stones about 12 feet high and 40 feet in circumference. Whether this be a Firbolgic monument or a modern landmark, I would not undertake to decide. Those who view it as an honorary monument of St. Gregory regard it with religious veneration, and it is said that the boats passing Gregory's sound were wont to reverence it by "striking sail".


[This page has been left blank.]

The castle of Arkin or Cromwell's fort.
'The castle of Arkin or Cromwell's fort' (Wakeman).
Tower of Cromwell's fort.
'Tower of Cromwell's fort' (Wakeman).


Dr. Quaeleus mentions only two churches as existing on this island in his time:

In insula secunda sive Media (.i. máán) est Ecclesia una Tempull Ceannannach dicta eidem S. Cennannacho nuncupata. Et alia Ecclesia divae Virgini consecrata; et utraque subjecta Parrochiae S. Endei.

O'Flaherty however mentions more churches on this island and that he examined the place more carefully than Quaeleus will appear from the present remains:

The Middle Island contains eight quarters of land; where there is the like old fortification as in the Great Island named from Connor Mac Huathmore brother to Engus of Dun-Engus as the tradition goes. Hallowed places in the isle are, our Blessed Lady's chappell; St. Kennanach his chappell (i.e. Kennanach's chaple); a hallowed place Atharla Kenirge; the chappell of Seacht mic righ, or the seven sons of a King; Tradition goes that St. Kennanach was a King of Leinster's son, and Kenerg, a King of Leinster's daughter. Her well is in a rock and never became dry. In this island is a great deal of Rabbits. Hence eastward to Tracht each in the third island is another, straight (.i. strait) road called Bealach-na-fear-boy. {now Bealach na Fearbhach, JO'D}

Teampull Muire
'Teampull Muire.' (Wakeman).

The Blessed Virgin's chapel is situated on the Middle Island not far from the fort of Dun Conchobhair to the east. It is decidedly not more than five or six centuries old as will be apparent from a comparison of it with Temple Benain and Temple Mac Duagh on the Great Island. It measures in length 39ft. 5in. and in breadth 15ft. 0in. The doorway is in the north wall, and measures 5ft. 1in. in height and 2ft. 7in. in breadth. It is in the pointed style. The window in the east gable is exactly like one in the Cathedral of St. Nicholas at Galway of which a sketch is here annexed. [Fig. 157]

Doorway of Virgin's chapel [left]; East window, the Virgin's chapel [centre]; Window in Cathedral [right].
'Doorway of Virgin's chapel [left]; East window, the Virgin's chapel [centre]; Window in Cathedral [right].' (Wakeman).

Pointed windows (and doorways) of this description are found in ancient Irish churches but these were unquestionably inserted in the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries.



Stone cross at St. Kenirg's Bed, Inish Meain.
Stone cross at St. Kenirg's Bed, Inish Meain.

The church of the seven sons of the King is a remarkably rude one now nearly destroyed. It is 41 feet long and 22 feet broad. All its features are effaced.

Within 3 feet of the south wall of this church is situated the Bed of the Virgin St. Kendherg, which O'Flaherty calls Atharla Kenirgé. It is now called (by) some Leaba na Cenndhirge and by others Eatharla na Cenndhirge, Leaba and Eatharla being (according to them) synonymous terms for a bed or tomb. It is not set down in any Irish dictionary nor do I remember having met any examples of its use, unless it be the same word as Othairlíghe, which is constantly used in the Irish annals to signify a burial place, a family vault.

Ró hadhnaiceadh é a n-othairlíghe a shinsear a Ros Chomáin.

4 Masters.

Eatharla na Cenndhirgé is a small oblong enclosure measuring 10 feet in length, 5ft. 3in. in breadth, and 4 feet in height. There is a small stone cross at the east end of it measuring 2ft. 0in. in height and 1ft. 5in. in breadth.

The islanders sleep in this Bed or Eatharla with a strong belief that they would be cured of certain diseases.

A short distance to the South of St. Kenirg's (Bed) is her well Tobernakenirge, a beautiful spring, which is never remembered to have been dried up.



This church is situated on the East side of Inish Maan on the subdivision of it called Moor or Mohar not far from the sea shore. This is perhaps the most perfect of the primitive Irish churches now in existence. It is a most precious remain to the antiquarian as by it he will be enabled to test the (age of those) parts of the other churches which have been inserted or remodelled. It is a small church or Oratorium (Ernaidhe) measuring in length 17ft. 0in. on the outside and 12ft. 6in. in breadth, and the side walls are 9feet 0in. high and 1ft. 11in. thick. It contains only one doorway and one window and these prove the extreme antiquity of the building. The doorway is, as usual, placed in the west gable, and is in the semi-Cyclopean style. It measures in height 5ft. 8in. and in breadth at top 1ft. 7in. and at bottom 1ft. 9in. Its lintel is 4ft 8in. long, 9 inches high and extends the entire thickness of the wall. The window is placed opposite it in the east gable, and is a pure specimen of the primitive Irish (triangular-headed) windows which however are very rarely found in the east gables, but generally in the south walls. Compare with the East window of Mac Dara's church, also with the east windows in the little churches of Teaghlach Einde and Teampull Beanáin. See pages 185 [i.e. MS p. 356] and [?]


This little window measures on the inside 3ft. 6in. in height to the apex of the triangle, and in breadth at bottom 2ft. 3in.; and where the triangle begins 1ft. 11in. On the outside it is 1ft. 7in. high; and 9 inches broad at the top, and 10 inches at the bottom. A stone extends the whole length of this gable, which is truly remarkable!

The Ceannannach from whom this church was named, was, according to the tradition preserved in Roderic O'Flaherty's time, son of the King of Leinster; but now tradition is positive that Ceannannach was a female! See also my notice of Teampull na Surnaighe, and my letter from Pettigo on St. Daibheog of Loch Derg.

Close to the north of Kill Ceannannach are shewn the graves of seven saints and among the rest that of Ceannannach, the mother of the other six! A few perches to the west of the doorway, there is a holy well now corruptly called Tobar na Ceannainne for Tobar Cheannannach.

This St. Ceannannach is the patron saint also of the parish of Ballynakill, where his name is anglicised Gregory, which is supposed to have been his real name. If there be any truth in this tradition, and that there may be I have little doubt, Gregory Sound must have been named after him. The tradition preserved at his church of Ballynakill states that he was a vehement


preacher, and that he was beheaded near the village of Claggan or Cleggan about six miles north of Clifden, where a monument is still pointed out, said to have been erected on the spot where St. Gregory Ceannfhionach's head was cut off by a tyrant.

Inside view of the doorway of Kilcannonagh.
'Inside view of the doorway of Kilcannonagh' (Wakeman).
East window of Kilcannonagh.
'East window.' (Wakeman).
The old church of Killcannonagh on the middle Island.
'The old church of Killcannonagh on the middle Island, WF Wakeman sketch'.


Dr. Quaeleus, or Colgan from his Catalague, has confounded this island with Ard-Oileán near Omey, but O'Flaherty, who knew those islands better than either denies that this island was ever called Ard-Oileán. Let me add here that it could not have been so called because it is by far the lowest of the three, (and that) if any of the three islands of Aran were called Ard Oilean, it would have been the Great island for its cliffs are remarkably elevated above the waves, whereas this South-east island is comparatively low. See my letter on High Island situated in the Ocean to the west of the island of Omey and to the south of Inish-Bofinne. Colgan or Quaeleus writes as follows on this island.

In insulâ tertiâ Araniensi, quae et Ard Oilen dicitur:

1. Ecclesia de Kill Chaemhain, S. Coemano dicata; in quâ et colitur.
2. Ecclesia Divo Paulo consecrata.


3. Ecclesia Kill-gradh-an-domhain appellate; in qua Gobnata colitur 11. Febr.

In hac ínsulâ fuit olim celebre monasterium, Kill-Choemain {de quo suprà} appellatum, in quo colitur S. Coemanus 12. Junii à quo et ipsa insula Ara Choemain appellatur. Ibidem etiam colitur S. Gormgalius die 5. Augusti: de quo Quatuor Magistri in annalibus ad annum 1017 scribunt. S. Gormgalius de Ard-Oilen praecipuus Hibernorum Synedrus, sive spiritualis pater obiit:(a) Memorat etiam Beatus Cororanus ejusdem saeculi author in suo panegyrico de Sancto, Gormgalio aliisque Sanctis Eremitis ejusdem insulae quod cum S. Gormgalio ibi quiescant Sancti, Maelsuthunius, Celecharius, Dubthacus, Dunadhach, Cellachus, Tressachus, Ultanus, Maelmartinus, Coromacchus, Conmachus, et alii plures.


(a) Gormghal ind Árd-oiléin, prímh anmchara (synedrus) ér end, d'écc.

4 Masters

I cannot at all understand why Colgan came to the conclusion that Ard-Oilean (i.e. High island) was the East Island of Aran, for it is not so in any sense of the word Árd; and in the Life of St. Fechin he might have seen very clearly that it (Ard-Oilean) could not be any of the isles of Aran as it is described as lying near Omey.


On this account of the Southeast island of Aran, Roderic O'Flaherty with his usual sagacity and knowledge, remarks as follows:

The third island of Aran, Inis Oirthir or the eastern isle, so called of (i.e. from) its situation from the two others, containing four quarters of land with a castle on a height.

This island was also called of old Ara Choemain of (from) St. Coemhan, of the ancient Dal Messincorb family descended of the kings of Leinster, brother to St. Coemgin, abbot of Glendalough, and likely disciple to St. Enna, as his brother was. He lies buried in the island in (?on) the north side of the church dedicated to his name, where he is worshipped the 3rd of November. There is a marble stone over his tomb with a square wall built about it on a plain green field in prospect of the sea: where sick people used to lie over night and recover health of God for his ({Coeman's}) sake. I have seen one grievously tormented by a thorn thrust into his eye, who by lyeing so in St. Coemhan's burying place, had it miraculously taken out, without the least feeling of the patient,(a) the mark whereof remains to this day in the corner of his eye.


(a) Similar stories are told to this day, but it is not easy to believe in this sceptic age in which fabulosa antiquitas is laughed at.


As this St. Coemhan gave the name of Ara Choemhain to the Island, so he from the Island {received the name of} Coemhán Airne i.e. Coemhan of Aran; for Ara {signifying a kidney} the common name of the three islands in the Nominative is Airne or Arann in the Genitive of the Irish; whence Father Colganus [26 Mart. p. 750] thought Ayrne a distinct name of one of the islands.

There is another St. Coeman, disciple of St. Patrick, abbot of Ard-Coemhain or Airdne Choemhain abbey {nu 12 in Colg in Vitâ Septimâ Sancti Patricii, parte 2, Cap. 54, ibid pag. 177 nuo 88} near Wexford, wherein his feast is celebrated the 12th of June. This likeness of the name of Airdne Coemhain and Coemhan-Airne and other circumstances induced Father Colganus {ibid. prope Einem} to believe Coemhan of Ardne-Coemhain and Coemhan Airne were the same person, and worshipped the 13th June {Colg. 12 March, p. 386 num 6, & 21 Mar. p. 715 prope finem}. But it appears from an old author Engus Céle Dé, quoted by Father Colgan {12 Mar. p. 586, num. 4, 5, 6} that Coemhan Airne was brother to St. Coemhgin and elsewhere {supra, p. 177 num. 88, Vita Septima Sancti Patricii} that Coemhan, St. Coemhgin, his brother (i.e. Coemhgin's brother), is worshipped the 3rd of November. It is another mistake of Father


Colganus {21 Mar: 714, 715, Cap 7} to write that Ard Olen was the same with this island, for Ard-Olen lyes, as elsewhere he hath {20. Jan. 7, p. 135, Cap. 22, & p. 141 num. 13} of which hereafter. Neither is the most eastern the chiefest of the three isles, as he took it {21 Mar. p. 714 Cap 7} but rather the smallest, where besides St. Coemhan's church is a chappell of St. Gobnat, worshipped 11th February and another of St. Paul.

On the South-east side of this island is a great rock in the sea remarkable for shipwrecks, called Finnis, which gave the name the name of Bealagh na Finnisé(b) to the shiproad between this island and the County of Clare. All the ships bound for or from Galway must sail by the isle of Aran in either of the four roads, viz Bealagh-Lougha Lurgan {so called of old Lough-Lurgan,(c) de quo p. 26} between the west


(b) Now always called the South Sound in English but Bealach na Finnise in Irish.

(c) The ship-road from Galway to the Skerds Rocks is still universally called Bealach Loch-Lurgan by the fishermen.


Continent and the Great island; Bealagh na haite {so called of Binn aite,(d) the next land over it in the Great Island} between the Great Island and the Middle island; Bealagh-na-fear-boy(e) {so called of the land next it} in the Middle island and the east island, and Bealagh na finnis between that and the County of Clare.


(d) Binn aité is the name of an elevated part of the Great Island in the townland of Killeany. It is not set down in the name Book, but it should be shewn on the Ordnance Map. Bealach na h-aité is now always called Gregory's Sound.

(e) The sound between the Middle island and lnish-Orior is always called in English the Foul Sound, and in Irish Bealach na Fearbhaighe (or Fearbhach). It is so called from Fearbhach, the name of a part of the middle island verging on it. It is not in the name Book, but it should be shewn on the map.



This church is situated on Inis Oirthir in the townland of Carrowcastle near the sea-shore. The sand is raised about it to a considerable height on the outside, but there is very little of it on the inside, it being removed by the natives who are accustomed to say their prayers in it every Sunday

It consists of nave (and choir) and it can be demonstrated by comparing it with Teampull Mic Dara, Teaghlach Eindé, Teampull Beanain and Cill Ceannannach, that it was remodelled in the 13th century or perhaps in the beginning of the 14th. (The highest part of the side walls is now 10 feet from level of floor.) The nave measures in length on the inside 16ft. 5in. and in breadth 12ft. 3in.; the choir is 11ft. 4in. long and 10ft. 6in. broad; the choir arch is 6ft. 4in. in breadth and 10ft. 8in. in height from the present level of the floor, {which is a little raised,} to the vertex of the arch, which is in the pointed style. The east gable contains a round-headed window measuring on the inside 5ft. 8in. in height, and in breadth 3ft. 3in., where the arch begins to spring and 3ft. 5in. at the bottom. On the outside it is 3ft. 6in. high, and 7 inches broad near the top, and 8 inches at the bottom.

The south wall of the choir contains a triangular-headed window measuring 2ft. 9in. in height to the vertex of the little triangle, and in breadth 2ft. 0in. at the base of the triangle, and 2ft. 1in. at the bottom of the window, but it is so injured on the outside that no measurements of it on that side could be given.


The west gable contains a doorway built in the semi-Cyclopean style. It is 4ft. 7in. high, {but the ground is a good deal raised} and 1ft. 10in. wide at the top and 2ft. 1in. at the bottom. The thickness of the wall is 2ft. 8in. The lintel of this doorway is an enormous stone measuring 4ft. 2in. in length, 1ft. 2in. in height and extending a little more than the entire thickness of the wall, for it projects a few inches on the inside.

The South wall of the nave contains a pointed doorway of the same age with the choir arch but (at least seven) centuries more modern than the doorway in the west gable. The ground (sand) is a good deal raised outside it. It measures 4ft. 9in. in height to the vertex of the arch, and 2ft. 6in. in breadth. The inside part is, as usual in doorways of this age, quadrangular and wider and higher than the external part wch. is arched in the pointed style.

There is a square little room off the west gable {like (that of) the Ivy church at Glendalough} into which the Semi-Cyclopean doorway leads. It is 9ft. 8in. long, 7ft. 6in. broad, but its walls are reduced to the height of 5ft. 8in. A question here naturally proposes itself. Is this little chamber off the west gable the foundation of a round tower like the one at the Ivy church at Glendalough?

I here add a description of the Ivy church at Glendalough written (on the spot) the day after the big storm 7th January last, in order that the antiquarian may see how far they agree and when they were remodelled.



The Church of the Blessed Trinity, called the Ivy church by Ledwich, Grose and Brewer, "from the vestment which screens its decay", is one of the most curious and, of its age, the most perfect specimen of a primitive Irish Daimhliag that I have yet seen in Ireland. It (extends east and west &) consists of nave and choir; the nave measures on the inside 29ft. 7in. from the west gable to the choir arch, and in breadth 17ft. 6½in.; the choir which is remarkably narrower than the nave is on the inside 13ft. 6.in. in length and only 9ft. 0in. in breadth. The choir arch is 9 feet wide (and) is nearly semicircular. The annexed figure will give an idea of its construction.

West doorway in Kill-Fursa old church
Chancel-arch of Trinity Church or the Ivy Church, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow.
[J.O'D.:] Stuagh coradh Teampuill na Tríonóide a n-Glenn dá lacha. [See OS Letters Wicklow, MS p. 490].

This figure shews every stone in that face of the choir arch opposite the west doorway. The semicircular part consists of 15 stones of nearly equal size, but the other face of it opposite the East gable consists only of 13.


The Nave contains two doorways, one in the west gable, which is in the semi-Cyclopean style and still in beautiful preservation, and the other in the South wall at the distance of 6ft. 6in. from the west gable. This latter doorway is now nearly destroyed but its form and characteristics have been preserved by Ledwich Antiquities Second edition p. 155, and better by Grose, Vol. II, p. 96. From both it appears that it was pointed at the top.

View of the Ivy church at Glendalough as given by Ledwich.
'View of the Ivy church at Glendalough as given by Ledwich'.
Doorway in the West Gable of the Ivy Church at Glendalough.
Doorway in the West Gable of the Ivy Church at Glendalough. Inside View.

The doorway in the west gable is older than the other by at least six centuries. It measures in height 5f. 0in. {but the ground is raised} and in breadth 2f. 5in. at top and 2f. 7in. at bottom. The lintel is 5f. 2in. in length 9½ inches in depth, and extends the entire thickness of the wall which is 2f. 6in.

This doorway leads into a small chamber over which a round tower was raised which fell in the year 1818, as Brewer informs us:

At the west end was lately a circular tower of moderate height and diameter, evidently designed for a belfry; but this part of the building was of very different masonry to the tall pillar towers of Ireland, and fell to the ground in the winter of 1818.

Beauties of Ireland Vol 1, p. 313. London 1825.

As, however, Brewer never saw this tower his testimony as to its agreement with or difference from the round tower still standing at Glendalough cannot be received according to all the laws of evidence. Ledwich, who was a better antiquary, writes of it thus while it was nearly perfect:

A view of the Ivy church is given to shew a most curious and ancient example of the approximation of the Round tower Belfry to the church; this ({i.e. the round tower}) in St. Kevin's Kitchen becomes part of the building.


It must be extremely pleasing to the lover of antiquities to be able to trace in existing monuments the insulated Belfry gradually advancing to a junction with the body of the church, and that this happened in very remote times the stone-roofed fabrics to which it is attached sufficiently demonstrate.

Antiquities of Ireland, Second Edition, p. 170.

From an examination of the oldest churches in the North, West and East of Ireland I have come to the following conclusion on the subject of this church at Glendalough: that it originally consisted of Nave and Choir, as its primitive characteristics suggest; that it (originally) had but one doorway viz the one now in the west gable; that when this doorway was used the round tower into which it led did not exist {which must follow of consequence}; that in the 12th or beginning of the 13th century the round tower-belfry was attached to the west gable; that the doorway in the west gable then served as an entrance into the apartment under this tower; that it became (generally) fashionable at this period to remove the doorway from the west gable to the South side wall, and to


build it (generally) in the pointed style. If this tower had not been built when it became the custom to remove the doorway to the South wall, the Semi-Cyclopean doorway in the west gable would have been stopped up, as in the Cathedral of Kilmacduagh, and other churches which I have already proved to have been remodelled after the year 1172.

Now I maintain that it is highly probable that there was a similar tower attached to the west gable of Teampull Chaemhain on the south Island of Aran, into which the Semi-Cyclopean doorway led, for if this were not the case it would have been stopped up when it became the - perhaps religious - custom to remove the doorway to the South wall. See my letter on Kilmacduagh and Mr. Petrie's observations on it.

The next point of agreement between these two churches is in the window in the South wall of the choir, for in both it is triangular headed and placed in the same position. They agree also in the position and form of the window in the east gable of the choir, but I suspect however that the one at Glendalough is some centuries older. One thing is certain on this point, that the east window in the Ivy church is coeval with the west doorway and that it has not


been remodelled nor (even) repaired since the period of the first erection of the building, whereas on the other hand there is every reason to suspect that the east window in Temple-Coemhain was not only repaired, but remodeled.

From a careful examination and comparison of these two churches of Coeman and Coemgen, who were brothers and consequently contemporary, I have come to the following conclusion: that every stone in the Ivy church is of the original work except the doorway which was inserted in the South wall about the middle of the 12th or beginning of the 13th century, and the round tower belfry {with a square base} which must have been erected at the same period; that Teampull Choemhain also contains a considerable part of the original work, but that the following parts were remodelled in the 12th or beginning of the 13th century, viz. (1) the pointed doorway in the south wall; (2) the square chamber (probably the base of a round or square belfry) into which the Semi-Cyclopean doorway leads, which must of consequence have been erected at the same period; (3) the (pointed) Choir arch which is beyond any doubt of the same age with the pointed doorway in the South wall; and (4) the window in the east gable, which


though it is much older than any of the other features, appears to have been remodelled about the tenth century.

Those who advocate the pagan antiquity of those towers will here laugh at the idea of my stating that the tower attached to the Ivy church must have been erected after the year 1172! But I laugh at them in return and state upon good authority that the large tower at Clonmacnoise was erected by Sen Fergal O'Rourke in the 11th century and repaired by O'Malone in the 12th, that Brian, Imperator Scotorum, repaired (rebuilt, ath-nuadhaidh) the Cloigtheach of Tomgreany in the 11th century, and that a Cloigtheach was erected at Annadown near Lough Corrib so late as the year 1213. {See Annals of the 4 Masters, and my letter on the abbey of Annadown}

I have taken the trouble to compare these churches of the two brothers Coëman and Coemgene that the antiquarian may compare the general features of both, and particularly that he may see that he may see at a glance that the pointed choir arch in Teampull Choemhain is the work of comparatively modern times (see sketch; the character of the masonry is entirely different in both and the part of the arch of Tempull Coemain which was modernised, is obvious at first sight). Mr. Petrie is ({not} G.P.) positive in his observations on my letter about Kilmacduagh, that this pointed arch is of the 6th. I am now equally positive that it is not! who will decide?

Teampull Choemhain, Inisheer.
Teampull Choemhain, Inisheer, '[a] Doorway in the south wall of the 13th century; [b] East window of the 10th century; [c] Window in the south side wall of the 7th century' (Wakeman)
View of Teampull Choemhain from the inside.
'View of Teampull Choemhain from the inside. WFW.'
[JO'D.:] This side to the spring of the arch is ancient.

Compare the hybrid character of this arch with the uniform simple characteristics of the choir arch in the Ivy church at Glendalough, and say, are they of the same age?


To the North east of the church within a few paces is shewn the grave of St. Coeman, which is believed to have the miraculous power of adapting itself to the size of every person who lies in it. It is now nearly covered with the sand.

An fear is mo d'fearaibh fáil
An fear is lúgha in a dháil
Cottruime doibh ceachtar De
Is d'iongantaibh na líghe.
Arannce Coemani tumulum jacens mirandum, in quo
Vir, puer, aut infans tres, et non amplíus aequat,
Quisque pedes longo: numerum discrimine nullo
Multiplicat, minuitue pedum proportio dispar.

This is the tomb of which O'Flaherty writes as follows:

He {S. Coemhan} lies buried in the island on the north side of the church dedicated to his name where he is worshipped the 3rd of November. There is a marble stone over his tomb, with a square wall built about it on a plain green field in prospect of the sea; where sick people used to lie over night, and recover health of God, for his sake. I have seen one grievously tormented by a thorn thrust into his eye, who, by lying so in St. Coemhan's


burying place had it miraculously taken out without the least feeling of the patient; the mark whereof remains to this day in the corner of his eye.

In Mr. Petrie's account of Tara this Saint is incorrectly called Coemgene, instead of Coemán; the former is the name of the patron of Glendalough; the former name is pronounced Kaeveen and the latter Kaevaun, according to the rules for pronouncing the Irish language. See Tara p. 157.

This St. Coeman of the South Island is by far the most celebrated of all the Saints of the Aran islands and indeed of all the neighbouring Saints with the exception of Mac Dara and Mac Duach, who are highly venerated by the marines of these western parts. St. Coeman is believed to have often abated storms and dissipated mists (fogs) after having been duly invoked.

On a recent occasion a South island man and two of his sons were fishing, but


were overtaken by a violent storm, which agitated the waters so furiously that the father and one of the sons were washed out of the little boat (and drowned). The other son, who was at all times an ardent venerator of St. Coeman cried out O! a Choemháin ca bh-fuil tú? (0! Coemani ubi es?). And immediately the tutelary Saint came to his assistance and calmed the storm:

He smoothed the sea,
Dispelled the darkness and restored the day.

[Dryden's translation of Virgil, Aeneid]

Not far from Teampull Choemhain in a field is a square altar called Suidheachan na noemh (i.e.) the seat of the Saints, the original use of which I can hardly conjecture. It must have been a Penitential Station?

Token of the faith of the Islanders.
'Amuletum S. Coemano consecratum Hibernicè vulgo oraíghe appellatum'.
This is a token of the faith of the Islanders Iesu hominum salvator.


According to Dr. Quaeleus this church was also called Cill Gradh an domhain, i.e. the church of the love of the World, but by this is not to be understood amor divitiarum but amor generis humani.

3. Ecclesia Kill-gradh-an-Domhain appellata; in quâ Gobnata colitur 11th Feb.

O'Flaherty also mentions this church in his account of West Connaught written in 1684:

Here besides St. Coemhan's church is a chappell of St. Gobnat worshipped 11th of February and another of St. Paul.

This church is now always called Kilgobnet, and the name of the Virgin Saint to whom it is dedicated is cut (in modern letters) on a stone over a little altar within it placed under the east window.

This little church is situated on the west side of the Island. It is not of the primitive Irish churches, but it is probably a re-edification of


one in the 10th or 11th century. It is 18 feet long and 14ft. 6in. broad. The doorway is placed in the west gable but not built of (very) large stones like those of the primitive ages. It measures at top 1ft. 7in. in breadth and 1ft. 11in. at the bottom, and in height 5ft. 5in. The walls are 2ft. 7in. in thickness and built of small stones. The lintel over the doorway is 4ft. 5in. long, 0ft. 7in. deep and extends the entire thickness of the wall. The east gable contains a roundheaded window measuring on the inside 3ft. 5in. in height. Breadth at where the arch begins to spring 1ft. 10in.; at the bottom 2ft. 0in. It is 4ft. 8in. from the present level of the ground and measures on the outside 1ft. 6½in. in height to the top of the little arch which is formed of one stone, and in breadth at top 6 inches and at the bottom 8 inches.

This Church is built of stones of considerable height and very little mortar is used wch. is a characteristic of ancient churches, but still the antiquary on comparing this with Temple Beanain and Kill Ceannannach must come to the conclusion that it is not near so old as either, because antiquity has


not stamped it with the marks of age so much as it has either of the others. Antiquity always stamps a certain (impress) of age upon all ancient buildings which the experienced eye of the antiquarian can never mistake.

A few paces to the N.W. of this church are the remains of a small Cloghaun nearly all under ground, measuring 9ft. 4in. in length and 5 feet in breadth. Its doorway faced that of the church.

About ½ mile to the South-west of Kilgobnet is a Ballán or well in a rock called Tobar Eindé where stations are performed on Sundays.

To the North west of O'Brien's Castle already mentioned, about ¼ mile there was a church which is now buried in the sand. This is probably the church called by Dr. Quaeleus "Ecclesia Divo Paulo consecrata" though the present tradition avers that it was always called Killeany-Beg. If it be not the site of St. Paul's church on this island (it) has been effaced from the surface of the ground as well as from the memory of tradition.


Inis Oirthir is divided into four quarters which are known by the following names: Carrow Druim Arlamain, Carrowcastle, Carrow an locha {so called from a lough called Loughmore} and Carrow an Phoillin. At the east side of O'Brien's Castle there is a place called Cill na Seacht n-inghean.

Kilgobnet Church.
'Kilgobnet.' (Wakeman).
East window of Kilgobnet Church.
[J.O'D. and W.F.W.:] 'East window of the Church called Cill Gobnatan, anglicè Kilgobnet' [Wakeman; O'Donovan].

The history of St. Gobnet will be given in connection with her own church in the County of Cork.



History can (only) take things only in the gross.

[Byron, Don Juan]

Having dwelt so long upon the description of the pagan, Christian and other remains on the Islands of Aran, I shall next attempt to draw a meagre sketch of its general history, but for want of materials this {outline} must be more (shadowy and) indistinct than that which the magic lantern produces on a wall.

I have already (stated) that the tradition connected with Loch Lurgan is so indistinct that no historical fact can be inferred from it. The modern Irish historians have stated that the Irish annalists record a violent shock of elements which tore the Isles of Aran from the neighbouring continent, but the Irish Annals have not a single word about such an earthquake, and those bombastic historians have found materials for their gratuitous assertions in a conjecture of Roderic O'Flaherty's, that the islands of Aran were originally connected with the main land!

(Loch Lurgan) qui quondam fortasse firmâ terrâ a salo descretus.

See p. 21 supra.


But Roderic O'Flaherty does not state that the Irish annals record any such earthquake. Mr. Kirwan, the celebrated philosopher and Chymist, states (however) in a note on his primitive state of the Globe p. 58, that the bay of Galway must have been originally a Granite mountain wch. was shattered and swallowed during some awful (concussion or) commotion of the earth. But this concussion which shattered the Granite mountain which ({if we believe the philosopher}) originally stood in the Bay of Galway is certainly beyond the period of written history, and therefore falls within the province of the Geologist's enquiries, not mine. Mr. Kirwan writes:

The Bay of Galway appears to have been originally a Granite mountain shattered and swallowed during this Catastrophe; for fragments of granite are found on its northern shore, though none in the neighbouring mountains, which are chiefly Argillitic. And so a vast mass of granite, called the Gregory, lately on one of the


Isles of Aran, one hundred feet, at least, above the level of the sea, ten or twelve feet high, as many broad, and about twenty in length; though the whole mass of this island consists of compact limestone, and no granitic hill within eight or ten miles of it. This was shattered by lightning in 1774.

Primitive State of the Globe, p. 58.

As I said before some mighty Geologist must grapple with this question: It is beyond the grasp of the historian who draws facts from written monuments.

The oldest historical reference {if historical it can be considered} we have to the islands of Aran is preserved in the Book of Lecan and in Duald Mac Firbis's account of the Firbolgs, in both [of] which it is stated that (some of) the remnants of the Firbolgs who survived the battle of Moy-Turey (fough[t] A.M. 2737), fled to the islands of Aran and other islands around Ireland where they fortified themselves against the Tuatha De Danans. O'Flaherty in his Ogygia understands that it was in the north Aran isles


off the coast of Donegal that the Firbolgs settled after this battle, but the earlier accounts mention "the islands of Aran" without specifying whether north or South. This and my notice of Dubh-Chathair will go far towards proving that the Firbolgs established themselves here immediately after the battle of Moy-turey. It may with every appearance of probability, however, be presumed that they were afterwards permitted to settle on the Continent, as we know from history that there were Belgic chieftains very powerful in Connaught so late as the time of St. Patrick, but it is more than probable that they (still) held the Aran Isles as a stronghold down to a comparatively modern period, when they were obliged or perhaps consented to resign them to another Colony of their own race, who arrived in Ireland (from Britain) a


short time before the birth of Christ. The MSS. above referred to give a detailed and rather interesting account of the arrival of this Colony. They first settled in Meath near Tara, Taillteann and Tlachtgha under the monarch Cairbré Niafer, but the haughty Scotic monarch treating them as serfs and men of Plebeian blood, they emigrated privately with their cattle and other possessions to Connaught where there were many of their own old race respected as men of noble though Belgic blood, and here they sought the protection of Olioll and Meave, King and Queen of Connaught, who having already many of the same old stock their most devoted and valorous subjects, received them into favour and gave them lands in Aran Islands and along the sea in the west and South west of the Province of Connaught. The chief of this swarm from Britain {probably from Devonshire (Dawnonshire)} was Aengus the son of Humore, who seems (appears)


to have been a man of rude magnificence and considerable power from the fortress which he erected on Aranmore to command not (only) all the other islands near the bay of Galway but all the western Coast of Connamara; for it was from a similar consideration of the commanding situation of this island that the officers of Queen Elizabeth placed the Castle of Arkin on the same island to command the O'Flahertys and other disaffected natives dwelling on these western Coasts.

The power of the Belgic families in Connaught seems to have been very great at this period, for after the death of Queen Meave they appear to be the most powerful tribes in Connaught in appointing her successor. O'Flaherty writes as follows on this subject:

Maudâ defunctâ Manius Aithreamhuil unus è septem Maniis homonymis, quos Olillo peperit, filius, a Cruachaniae incolis, Tuatha Taidhen, Gabradiis de Suca, Fircraibiis, Cathragiis et populis de Badhna


Rex Connactiae acclamatur; reclamantibus posteris Magach Clann Huamoriis, posteris Gananni et Senganni regum Hiberniae aliisque Damnononiis qui Sanbum Magachae è Keato filio nepotem armis praeferre contenderunt Manium excepit Sanbus per annos 26. usque dum senex admodum grandaevus Tuathalio rege, in acie occubuit.

After the death of Meave, Maine Aithreamhuil, one of the seven of the same (name), whom she had by Oilioll is proclaimed King of Connaught by the inhabitants of Cruachain, the Tuatha Taiden, the Gavradians, the Fír Craibhe, the Cathragians, and the inhabitants of Badhna {now Slieve Baun na dae}; in opposition to the posterity of Magach, the Clann Huamore, the race of Sengaun and Ganann, Kings of Ireland and other Damnonii, who struggled to set up by force of arms, Sanv, the grandson of Magach by his son Ceat. Sanv succeeded Mainé for 26 years, until he fell at a very great age in an engagement against King Tuathal.


We find the Damnonii also very powerful in the province of Connaught in the reign of the Scotic Monarch Cormac Mac Art, against whom they rebelled but without success, for he wrested the sceptre [of] Connaught from their race and conferred it on a Scottic prince of his own blood, as O'Flaherty faithfully relates from authentic Irish history thus:

Aidus Conalli Cruachan regis Connactiae ex Achaio filio nepos post Kedgin Cruachna Connactiae rex Cormaci Regis indignationem meritus, praelio apud Moy-ai in Roscomanio ab eo devictus est; et Connactiae principatu à Damnoniis translato, Niamorus Lugnii Firtrii filius, et Cormaci Regis frater Uterinus factus rex Connactiae. Sed brevi pòst Niamoro ab Aido interfecto, Aido cum Damnoniis è Connactiâ exterminato, Lugadium, Niamori fratrem substinuit, qui Aidum è medio sustulit, et triginta annos in Connactiâ regnavit.

Ogygia, p. 334 and 335.


Aidus, the grandson of Conall, King Connaught, after Kedgin, incurring the just resentment of King Cormac, was defeated by him in the battle of Moy-ai in Roscommon; and the sovereignty of Connaught was wrested from the Damnonii, and Niamor, the son of Lugny Firtry, the brother of King Cormac was made king of Connaught. But in a short time after Niamor was assassinated by Aidus, and Cormac (having) exterminated Aidus and the Damnonii from (in) Connaught, substituted in his place Lugad, Niamor's brother, who killed Aidus & reigned thirty years over Connaught.

Though the Damnonii at this period lost the sovereignty of Connaught it is by no means probably [sic] that they were totally exterminated, for it appears from an ancient life of St. Greallan, the patron of Hy-Many, quoted by Duald Mac Firbis, that the Belgic Damnonii were powerful in Connaught and especially in Hy-Many in the sixth century, when that saint flourished.


In course of time the Belgic families of Connaught become so mingled with the predominant Scotic race that their very origin became unknown, their names having been assimilated with those of their rulers, so that when Roderic O'Flaherty wrote his Ogygia there were only two gentlemen in Connaught who acknowledged themselves to be of Firbolgic origin.

Denique Moy-Sachnoliam, hodie Hy-Manian in agro Galviensi post Sancti Patricii adventum insederunt; atque ibidem O'Layn, et in agro Sligoensi O'Beunachan ad nostra usque tempora non spernendi latifundii dominus, ab iis originem derivantes restant familiae.

Lastly they settled (after the arrival of St. Patrick) in Moy Sachnoly now called Hy-Many in the County of Galway, and there (the family of) O'Layn, and in the County of Sligo O'Beunaghan, to our time the lord of no despicable territory, deriving their origin from them are still in existence.

See my letter on the families interred in the Churchyard of Lissonuffy in the County of Roscommon.


It is not easy however to discover when the Clann Huamore of Aran were driven thence, or (perhaps) emigrated thence of their own accord. That they were not there in the time of St. Enné would appear sufficiently evident from the life of that Saint which states that when St. Enné, after having received a grant of the island from his brother-in-law Aengus King of Cashel, it was inhabited by a tribe of Pagans out of Corcomroe headed by a wicked chieftain of the name Corbanus. This tribe was banished from the island by St. Enné, or perhaps, quitted it of their own accord at the request of their King.

The next tribe mentioned in history as located in Aran are the Eoganachts of Aran, a branch of the race of Eogan, the son of Oilioll Olum, who were widely spread over Munster and other parts of Ireland and Scotland wch. I have already particularized in pp. 50 and 51. [i.e. MS pp. 223-4]


We have as yet discovered no documents to prove the precise period at which the Eoganachts fixed themselves in Aran, nor into what families they branched in after times. It is probable however that they were established there shortly after the period of St. Enné, who received a grant of the Great Island of Aran from (King) Aengus, the head of all the Eoganachts about the year 490. Nothing is (at present) known for certain about this tribe but that the western third part of the Great Island [sic].

From the period of the establishment of Christianity on the Great Island by St. Eindé down to the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the notices of Aran are very few and meagre, and relate merely to the monastery of Killeany. The deaths of abbots of Killeany, who are styled Comharbs of Eindé are recorded at the years 650, 755, 865, 916, 1010, 1020, 1081, 1110, 1114, 1167, 1400, and at the year 1020 the destruction of {the monastery of} Aran by fire is recorded, and at 1081 the devastation of the island by the Danes is mentioned; but no other particulars of its history are handed down.


Mr. Hardiman in his addenda to the history of Galway writes that

in the year 546 it was agreed between the kings of Munster and Connaught that the islands of Aran were to acknowledge no superior, or pay chief rent to any but their native princes, in whose possession they remained for many ages afterwards.

p. 319.

I do not know what authority he found for this statement.

Giraldus Cambrensis writes about this Island in the 12th century.

Est insula quaedam in occidentali Connactiae Solo posita, cui nomen Aren à S. Brendano, ut aiunt, consecrata. In hac hominum corpora nec humantur, nec putrescunt, sed sub dio posita, et exposita, permanent in corrupta. Hic homines avos, atavos, et tritavos, longam que stirpis suae retro seriem mirando conspiciunt, et cognoscunt. Est et aliud ibi notabile: quia cum per totam Hiberniam copiosè nimis mures abundent, haec tamen insula mure caret. Mus enim nec nascitur hic, nec vivit invectus, sed si forte allatus fuerit, statim praecipiti cursu in proximum mare se praecipitat. Sin autem impeditur emoritur.

Top. Hib. Dist. 2. C. 6.

There is a certain island situated in the western district of Connaught, called Aren consecrated, as they say, by St. Brendan. In this island the bodies of the men are not inhumed, nor do they putrify, but being placed in the open air and exposed, they remain uncorrupted.


Here men behold (with wonder) and recognise, their grandfathers, great-grandfathers, tritavi, and a long series of their ancestors. And there is another thing very remarkable there: while rats (mice) are (very) abundant throughout all Ireland, this island does not contain a single rat. For no mouse (rat) is produced here, (nor) does it live when carried thither, and if by chance a rat should be carried thither it immediately precipitates itself into the adjacent sea; but if it be prevented, it dies at once.

Gratianus Lucius thus criticises these assertions of Giraldus.

In the whole series of this narration Giraldus is very lame: for the Island of Aren was consecrated not by St. Brendan, but by St. Endaeus; As hence the Irish call it (recte him) Einne Airne. The former is said to have visited it while on his seven years navigation (voyage of discovery!). But at the present day the state of things is altogether different in that island, for carcasses do not lie unburied, but rot under the earth. Yet it appears from remote tradition that it was always the custom there to bury dead bodies there: for Colgan and many others assert that that island is ennobled by the sacred relics and sepulchres of innumerable saints, and it is stated in the life of St. Albeus that no one knows the number of saints there interred but God alone. And hence it


is (commonly) called Ara na naomh or Ara of the Saints. This island is frequented by rats as well as other (recte the other) places (parts) in Ireland. And Camden has at (one blow) overturned this heap (pack) of fables about Aran and the Island of the living {Iinis na m- beo} when he says:

Insulae Arren dictae fabellis, quasi insulae viventium famigerantur.

I think that Giraldus has by an inverse narration, applied (to Aren) those things which are related of Inis Gluaire (lying off) Irris in the County of Mayo. For those interred there are observed to remain unputrified with their nails and hair growing, so that one might recognise his grandfather.

See O'Flaherty's remarks on these words of Giraldus already quoted in page 16, from which it will appear that he was far superior to Gratianus Lucius in sense and judgment.

We have no document to prove when the islands of Aran came into the possession of the O'Briens but it can be inferred from collateral evidences that they occupied (at least) two of them from a very remote period, but it is more than probable that the O'Flaherty's contested the Great island with them since the 14 century.

The most curious document on this subject


I have seen is preserved in a pedigree of the O'Brien's preserved in the MS. Library of Trinity College H. 1. 7. It runs as follows: {I translate the Irish part}

Family tree of O'Briens.
Family tree of O'Briens continued.

Here follows a copy of an authentic certificate of the Mayor and Bailiffs of Galway {whose original is in Mr. John O'Brien's hands} in favour of the above Morogh Mac Turlogh O'Brien in Queen Elizabeth's time.

To all Christian people to whom this present writing shall come, we the Mayor and Bailiffs of this Her Majesty's town of Galway, send greeting in the Lord God everlasting; for as much as it is both meritorious, and also the duty of our Office to testify in all matters the truth whereunto we are demanded. Know you therefore


that we, being required by one Morogh Mac Torlogh O'Brien of the Sept of the Mac Teiges of Arran, to testify the truth concerning his ancestors, who were under her Majesty's and her Highness's predecessors, the temporal captains or lords of the Islands of Arran and their territorys and hereditaments elsewhere, under the names of Mac Teige O'Brien of Arran, time out of man's memory, do let you know universally, to wit, that during our lives, and, as we have heard of our forefathers declaring of their predecessors before them, that the Mac Teiges of Arran were chief Captains and lords in the temporality of the islands of Arran, to whom their underlings were answering thereout for temporal and spiritual rents as thereout was due, which they successively enjoyed time out of mind as aforesaid; and that we have seen the said Morrogh Mac Torlogh O'Brien authorised by all his Sept as chief of that name, in possession of the premises, as his own lawful inheritance, as more at large doth appear in our books of Records, wherein he


continued, until of late he was by the usurping powers of the O'Flahertys expulsed, from whom it is taken by some Inquest found in her Majesty's favour. We say moreover that the Sept of Mac Teige O'Brien of Arran, since the foundation of this City and town, were aiding and assisting both to ourselves & our predecessors against her Majesty's enemies in all times and places whereunto they were called, as true, faithful and Liege people to the Crown of England to maintain, succour and assist this town. This much we cannot do less than testify to be true, in witness whereof we have hereunto set our signs and our Mayoralty's Seal of Office the 30th day of March 1588 in the 30th year of her Majesty's reign.

Alexander Dermott{LS} John Blake Mayor
Notary Publick{LS} Walter Martin Bailiff
{Loc. Su}{LS} Anthony Kirrivan Bailiff

Dr. O'Brien in his Irish Dictionary {vóce Tromra} states that an authentic copy of this address is (was) possessed by John O'Brien of Clontis in the County of Limerick Esq, who was then {1768} the worthy direct chief of that princely family

Though the Aran Isles were under the protection of this powerful Sept of the O'Briens, it did not save them from being plundered and burned by Sir John D'arcy, Lord Justice of Ireland, who sailed round the western (coast) in the year 1334, with a fleet of fifty six sail {Clynne's Annals}.

The next historical notice of Aran is found in Allemande and Colgan who mention the erection of a Fransciscan (monastery) on the Great island in 1485.

In the sixteenth century the O'Briens were expelled from these Islands by the O'Flahertys as can be inferred from the above address of the Mayor and Bailiffs of Galway. I have met no authority for this fact in any of the purely Irish annals. I find however the following notice of Aran in the Annals of the Four Masters. I give the original with the contractions lengthened out as it should be published}.

Aois Chríst 1560. Mathghamhain mac Toirdhealbhaigh, mic Taidhg, mic Donnchadha, mhic Domhnaill, mic Toirdhealbhaigh mhéith, do dhol i n-deas-Mhúmhain lucht Luinge agus Árthraigh á h-,Árainn. Bráighde do ghabháil do is in tír theas, agus ar berat aroile nar bho maith a bh-fághbha, agus gur ab ar tairisecht tangadar


agus ag filleadh do tar ais le a édalaibh do fhás gairbhe 'san n--gaoith, agus fuasnadh 'san bh-fioarmament agus do deadhladh re roile an long agus an t-árthrach agus acc dénamh do'n luing co n-a lucht i n-ártosach oidhche ar Aarainn do fuadaigheadh a seol á glacaibh(a) fear agus féindedh d'ionnaibh ted agus tácladh in a cotchannaibh com-mblodhtha hi bh-fraighthib na fioarmamenti, agus do buaileadh an long d'a éisi sin fa charraicc i m-beol chuain an fhir mhóir i n-iarthar Chonnacht agus ro baidheadh í co n-a fuirinn cen mo tá Mhathghamhain agus aoin triar oile; agus do báidheadh tuilleadh ar ched 'san chaladh sin dibh, im Tuathal Ua Máille sturusmann coblaigh fhada ba fearr ina aimsir.

A.D. 1560. Mahon {son of Torlogh, son of Teige, who was the son of Donogh, son of Donnell, who was the son of Torlogh le Gros} O'Brien set out from Aran with the crews of a ship and boat to make an incursion into Desmond. He took hostages in the southern country (i.e. Kerry). {But others (i.e. other annalists) say that their accoutrements were bad and that they only went on a visit to their friends.} On their return with their acquisitions (booty) roughness grew in the wind and tumult in the firmament, and the ship and the boat were separated from each other, and as the ship and her crew were making for Aran at nightfall, her sail was torn (dragged) from the hands of the men(a) and heroes {and} from the ends (indaibh) of ropes and tackles, torn to pieces, and wafted into the firmament ({on the wings of the storm}); and afterwards the ship


herself was driven against a rock in the mouth of the Great Man's Bay in Iar-Connaught, and was sunk and all her crew perished except Mahon {O'Brien} and three others. More than three hundred of them were drowned in this harbour, and among the rest Tuahil O'Mailley(b) the best Steersman (Nauclerus) of a long fleet in Ireland in his time.

A.D. 1584. Eassaonta d'eirghe i n-iarthar Chonnacht etir sliocht Eóghain Uí Flaithbheartaigh, agus sliocht Muarchadha, mhic Briain na m-Óinseach Uí Flaithbheartaigh. Ro b'é a á-dhbhar sin sliocht Eóghain .i. O'Flaithbheaartaigh, Tadhg, mac Taidhg na Buile, mhic Muchadha, mic Eógain, agus clann Domhnaill an choccaidh, mhic an Giolla Duibh, mhic Murchadha, mic Eógain, do ghabháil oiléin Bhaile na h-innsi ar Tadhg, mac Murchadha na d-Tuagh, mhic Taidhg, mhic Murchadha Ui Fhlaithbheartaigh; uair báttur sliocht Eóghain ag a rádha gur bho leó féin ó cheart an t-oilén sin, agus gur ab tar sarúcchadh baí Taidhg ag á thógbhail, agus ag a chúmhdach. Agus cécib cruth m-baí a fhir, do chuaidh Tadhg Forra-somh a n-diaidh na gabhála, co nár fagaibh míl n-innile gus a rainicc ar a ccuid do thír gan a marbhadh, no gan d-tabhairt lais. Do ronadh díoghbhála móra leó-somh do Thadhg gion gur b'ionann cumhang bhaoi aca.

Feacht d'á n-deachaidh an Tadhcc sin, mac Murchadha lucht Árthraigh ar ionnsaighe oídhche i mí Íún in-deádhaigh sleachta Eóghain Uí Fhlaithbheartaigh go h-Árainn, rucc Tadhcc forra is in ámhadain co h-anullamh etir chodhladh agus dúsccadh ar gach taobh do chuirr thossaigh na luinge, agus ba easccáirdeamhail an taisbeánadh tucc sé dóibh ar an trácht sin, agus níor bh-fiú an t-oilen

A n-deárnadh an lá. sin amháin in a timcheall; uair ro marbhadh-ann sin Murchadh, Mac Éamain Óicc, mhic Éamain, meg Aedha fer leitreach Mealláin, do


(a) [Referred to on MS p. 455] In this passage the sentence (is curious): do fuadaigheadh an seol a glacaibh fear d'ionnaibh téd agus tácladh hi bh-fraighthibh na fiormaamenti. The sail was torn from the hands of men and from the ends of ropes and tackles into the region (concave) of the firmament. In taking down (or, in) the sail in a storm all the crew set to work, and in some instances the sail is forced from their hands and torn from the scóid and other ropes, as if shot from a cannon, and wafted on the wings of the storm through the agitated fields of the firmament (fields of the air)!

At the present day the stiúrasmann is very much afraid of the treacherous squalls of the Foul Sound and Gregory's Sound, and to guard against them he holds the scóid or rope securing the boom in one hand while he guides the helm with the other, and when the squall comes down suddenly he looses out the sail and thus shakes the wind out of the Canvass. Muchadh a's báídheadh ort a mhic na caillíghe, isligh an scóid!

(b) The O'Mailleys are proverbial among the Irish as



being good navigators: hear the testimony of O'Dugan in 1360,

Duine maith Niamh ni raibh, D'uibh Maille acht na mháraidhe
fáidhe na síne sib-se, dine báidh is brathairse!!
There was never a good man of the O'Mailleys but a mariner!

chóidh i g-comhmbáidh sleachta Eóghain Ui Fhlaithbheartaigh. Ro marbhadh ann, Dan, mac Senescáil cloinne Muiris bhaí in a bh-fochair ar an bh-foghail cedna, agus mac an Uí Fhlaithbheartaigh sin {Taidg} féin .i. Murchadh salach. Ro marbhadh bheór drong mhór du mhuintir sleacht Eógain Ui Flaitbeartaigh cen mo táitt na h-uaisle sin. Bátttur amhlaidh sin ag coccadh fria roile co ro siodhaig-siot goill eatorra is in bh-foghmhar ccind, agus do radadh an t-oilén do sliocht Eóghain Uí Fhlaithbheartaigh.

A.D. 1584. A contention arose in lar-Connaught between the descendants of Owen O'Flaherty and the descendants of Morogh, the son of Brian na n-oinseach {Brianus Stultarum} O'Flaherty. The cause was this: The head of the Sliocht-Owen O'Flaherty {Teige the son of Teige na Buile i.e. the Mad son of Morogh, who was son of Owen} (and the race of Donnell Belli son of Gilduff) took the Island of Ballynahinch from Teige the son of Morogh na Doe, who was the son of Teige O'Flaherty, for the Sliocht-Owen were saying that that island was theirs by right, and that Teige took and


keep [sic] possession of it by unjust violence. But be this as it may, as the taking of the island Teige prevailed over them, and he left not a single head of cattle in any part of their country to which he came, that he did not kill or carry off. And the others though unequal in power did great injuries to Teige.

On one occasion this Teige, the son of Morogh, went with the crew of a boat in the month of June on a nocturnal expedition in pursuit of the race of Owen O'Flaherty to Aran, and overtook them at break of day, when they were unprepared {for defence} between sleep and vigilance on both side[s] of the prow of the ship. And unfriendly was the salutation he made them on that shore, and indeed the island was not worth all that was done about it on that one day, for Morogh, the son of Edmond Oge, son of Edmond son


of Hugh, the proprietor of Letter-Mellan, who joined the race of Owen O'Flaherty was killed, as was also the son of the Seneschal of Clann Maurice, who was along with them on the same predatory excursion, and also Teige Salach (dirty), the son of the O'Flaherty {Teige} himself and a great party of the race of Owen O'Flaherty besides these nobles. Thus they continued at war with each other, until the English made peace between them in the succeeding Autumn, when the Island was given to the race of Owen O'Flaherty.

4 Masters.

Morogh Na Doe O'Flaherty, the chief of the Eastern part of West Connaught, though not the head of his name, was a very powerful chieftain. He was appointed (Captain of Iar-Connaught) in the reign of Elizabeth ({20th October 1569}) for the valuable assistance he rendered the English go-


vernment in putting down other disaffected members of the Muinter Moroghoe and more particularly for his great power in his own Country He was after(wards) knighted & lorded over the entire of West Connaught (put down the real O'Flaherty) and drove the O'Briens out of Aran. His son Teige was also very powerful, and deprived the real O'Flaherty of all power and possessions as we learn from an Inquisition taken at Galway on the 16th of August 1607, in wch. it is stated that Teige ne bolly O'Flaherty of Arde was chief of his name, and that he had the title of O'Flaherty since the time of Sir Henry Sidney, lord Deputy; that he was seized in fee of the Castle of Arde and 2 Cartrons called the two Ardes, and, under a division between him and others of his competitors of one half of Bal]yndorvin (.i. Ballyndown) and Ballinahinch; that as chief of his name, or Tanist, he was seized in fee of the Castle and Island of Ballynahinch, and the fishings of the River of Owenmore, until one Teig Mac Morroughe


ne dubh {i.e. na d-tuagh} his two sons, and Murroughe ne more {i.e. na maor} O'Flaherty, dispossessed him Of the same; that by the composition with Queen Elizabeth, he was to hold the entire by Knights service as of the castle or manor of Ardkyn in the Great island of Arren. It was also found, that he had mortgaged several lands to Richard Martin of Galway, merchant. See History of Galway p. 41.

On the 12th of January 1587, upon his surrender of his estate and name of O'Flaherty, and all Irish customs thereto belonging, Sir Morogh Na d-tuagh received a grant from the crown of all the manors, castles, &c in Iar-Connaught and Joyces' Country, to hold to him and his heirs for ever by the twentieth part of a Knight's fee, as of the manor of Arkin in the Great Island of Arin paying all compositions.

The original of this patent is in the possession of Thomas Henry O'Fflahertie of Lemonfield, the lineal descendant of Sir Morogh na d-tuagh. It appears from it that Sir Morogh in making his surrender resigned every claim to the islands of Aran.


Up to the period of Sir Morogh na d-tuagh the O'Briens were in possession of the islands of Aran, but this powerful chieftain envying them so important a position struggled to dispossess them, and succeeded in doing so. Information of his success having been sent to Queen Elizabeth, a commission issued under which it was found that these islands belonged to her Majesty in right of her Crown. (It was found by this commission that the Isles of Aran were monastic land, and therefore, were the property of the Crown.) She accordingly by Letter Patent dated 13th January {instead of restoring them to the O'Briens} granted the entire to John Rawson of Athlone, gentleman, and his heirs, on condition that he should retain constantly on the islands twenty foot soldiers of the English nation. Rot. Pat. 31 Eliz. The Castle of Arkin was doubtlessly erected by this John Rawson. It was on this occasion that the Corporation of Galway addressed the Queen on behalf of the O'Briens as already stated; but their appeal proved ineffectual. Elizabeth continued inexorable, well knowing the advantage of having a loyal English garrison in so important a position. It is more than probable that the O'Briens had to ascribe, at least remotely this alienation of their inheritance to their own domestic feuds, for if they had not been put down by Sir Morogh


na dtuagh O'Flaherty Queen Elizabeth's commission would have never issued to take the islands from both parties. At the north extremity of the Great island not far from Fort Murvy a field is shewn where human bones and skulls are frequently dug up, and for which reason it is called Fearann na g-ceann, the land of the heads {Golgotha}. Here, according to tradition, the O'Briens are said to have slaughtered each other almost to extermination.

Not long after the transfer of Aran to John Rawson, Sir Robuck Lynch of Galway, merchant, became proprietor of the islands, but no particulars of the manner in which they came into his possession have been preserved. The following instrument however, dated 20th June 1618, will throw some light on the subject.

Indenture between Henry Lynch of Galway Esq. and William Anderson of Aran, County of Galway Gent. Whereas Queen Elizabeth 21st, November 1586 demised to Sir Thomas Lestrange Knight in reversion after the determination of a lease made to Robert Harrison for 50 years, all those three islands


late parcel of the possessions of the late religious houses of Finbour, Anaghcoyne, Kilseanye and Corcomore whereof the first is called Aranmore containing by estimation 16 acres, the second called Innyshmany alias Inishmain and the third called Inisharye or Inisharry {i.e. Inis-Oirthir} the one moiety whereof was come by some assignment to the said William Anderson during the residue of Sir Thomas Lestrange's 50 years lease, being 36 years from the 13th August last, said Henry Lynch by this Indenture, for the sum of £50 English, and for the better assuring and confirming the said moiety to the said William Anderson, demised and assigned all the said moiety of the said three Islands to him, excepting great trees(!!) (this is very curious! were there large trees in Aran?) mines, minerals, and great hawks, at the rent of £3 Irish, or a proportion of port corn as therein mentioned.

{Patent Roll}

The Clann Teige O'Brien, however, still claimed the Islands as their legitimate inheritance; and, taking advantage of the troubles


in 1641 prepared to attack the people of Aran, with the aid of a Gentleman of considerable property and influence in the County of Clare, Baetius Oge Mac Clanchy; but their project was frustrated by the opposition of the Earl of Clanrickard and the Earl of Thomond.

Memoirs of Clanrickard p. 71.

In 1651, when the Royal authority was fast declining, the Marquis of Clanrickard resolved to fortify these islands; where he placed 200 musketeers, with officers and a gunner, under the command of Sir Robert Lynch. The fort (castle) of Arkin (first erected about the year 1587) in the great island was then enlarged and furnished with an additional supply of Cannon; and by this means it held out against the Parliamentary forces for near a year after the surrender of Galway. In December 1650, the Irish having been routed in every other quarter, landed 700 men here, in boats from Iar-Connaught and Inis-Bofin; but on the 9th of January following 1300 foot with a battering piece were shipped from the bay of Galway to


attack them; and 600 foot more marches from the town to Iar-Connaught, to be thence sent, if necessary, to the assistance of the assailants. On the 13th the Islands surrendered on the following articles, "concluded between Major James Harrison and Captain William Draper, on behalf of Commissary General Reynolds, Commander in chief of the Parliamentary forces in the isles of Aran, and Captain John Blackwall and Captain Brien Kelly Commissioners appointed by Colonel Oliver Synnot Commander of the fort".

1. It is concluded and agreed that all the Officers and Soldiers, both belonging to sea and land, shall have quarters, as also all others, the Clergymen and other persons within the fort. 2. That they shall have six weeks for their transportation into Spain, or any other place in amity with the State of England; and that hostages be given by Colonel Synnot for the punctual performance of these articles. 3. That Colonel Synnot shall deliver up the fort


with all necessaries of war, by three o'Clock this instant 15 th January 1652, before which time all officers and soldiers belonging to the said fort shall march, with drums beating, to the church near Ardkine, and there lay down their arms. 4. That Colonel Synnot, and the Captains, eight in number, shall have liberty to carry their swords; the other officers and soldiers to lay down their arms; that Commissary Reynolds shall nominate four Officers of the fort hostages. 5th That Colonel Synnot, with the rest of his officers and soldiers, and all other persons in the fort, shall, upon delivering their arms and delivering their hostages, be protected from the violence of the soldiers, and with the first conveniency to be sent to the county of Galway, there to remain in quarters for six weeks, in which time they are to be transported as aforesaid; provided that no person whatsoever, belonging to the fort of Ardkyn, and found guilty of murder, be included or comprised in these articles, or have any benefit thereby.

Orig MS.


The Parliamentary forces, on taking possession of the fortifications, found seven large pieces of Cannon, with a considerable quantity of arms and ammunition; they seized also a French Shallop of 28 oars, and several large boats. The garrison was soon after rebuilt on a larger scale, as we learn from Roderic O'Flaherty and other authorities

Near the Castle of Arkin was St. Enna's church and an abbey of St. Francis, both demolished ({in the Usurper Cromwell's time}) to build the Citadel with their stones. So all devouring time!

Diruit, aedificat, mutat quadrata rotundis!

[Horace, Epistles]

The late proprietor of the islands Sir Robert Lynch was declared a forfeiting traitor and his right made over to Erasmus Smyth Esq, one of the most distinguished of the London adventurers. This Gentleman's interest having been purchased by Richard Butler, created Earl of Aran in 1662, the title of the latter was confirmed by the following document.

On the 9th September 21 Car II, the King by Patent under the Act of Settlement


granted unto Richard Earl of Aran, the great island, containing as followeth - viz the 6 quarters of Killeany 153 acres profitable, 211a. 2r. unprofitable, Oghill 6 quarters 227 acres profitable 620 acres unprofitable, Killmoacre alias Killmurry {rectè Killmurvy (JOD)} 6 quarters, 308 acres profitable, 504a. 2r. unprofitable, Oghenght {recte Oghenaght (Onaght)} 6 quarters 214 acres profitable, 512 acres unprofitable. The island of Inishmaine containing the 4 quarters of Kilcannon {recte Kilcannonagh (JO'D)} 258a. 2r. 20P., Lorke (Lerke) {?} 4 quarters 177a. 2r. profitable, 257a. 3r. unprofitable. In the small island 4 quarters 123 acres profitable. Total 2376a. 1r. 7P. Statute measure, all situate in the half Barony of Aran and County of Galway at the annual rent of 14£. 7s. 0d. payable to the King his heirs and Successors.

See 15th Annual Report of the Irish Record Commissioners
p. 219 and Lodge's Peerage, vol. IV, p. 55.


On the surrender of Galway to King William's forces, in 1691, Aran was garrisoned, and a barrack built, in which soldiers were granted for many years after.

It appears from Lodge's Peerage vol. 3 p. 116, that Sir Arthur Gore was created Earl of Aran by Patent at Dublin, 12th April, 1768.

At present the Islands of Aran are the estate of Mr. Digby of Landenstown in the County of Kildare, they having been mortgaged to one of his ancestors by a Mr. FitzPatrick of Galway for £4000. On failure of payment the mortgage was foreclosed. How the Fitzpatricks obtained possession of these islands I have no clear stream of evidence to shew. I suppose they purposed them from the Butlers.


We set sail from Galway on the 11th of July for Aran in the Mountain Maid, one of the best boats in the Claddagh, the property of Conneely alias Connolly to whom I paid 18 shillings for transporting us to Aran.

We set out from the old quay of Galway at 3 o'Clock, the wind being very scant and from the South East. When we had sailed three miles into the Bay of Galway there came a dead calm, and the boatmen began to feel certain that we could not reach Aran till the following day. They therefore wished to lie at Blackhead till the break of day from fear of fogs which often lie brooding on the sea between Blackhead and the isles of Aran. I would not consent to their doing so, not wishing to sit shivering in the boat, nor to lose the next day; so I desired them to sail away, and tack away whatever time they might reach the island. I saw the sun set in the Atlantic, a glorious sight, but so often described that I won't say one word about his meteor eyes, but the Aran light house shed such a stream of light as astonished (me). It is a revolving light, and the reflectors are so good that while it remains in view {it takes 3½ minutes to revolve} it looks like a meteor. It sheds such a flood of radiant light upon the (welkin, the) sea and the eyes of the spectators, as (apparently) to


put out the nocturnal lamps blazing in the firmament {as a tasteless poet would say}.

We neared the little harbour of Kilronan exactly at two minutes after three, when the day began to shew the first symptoms of its birth in the east, by streaking the North east with its c[r]epuscle glimmer, and filling the canvass with a colder & fresher breeze. We climbed up the big stones of which the little quay of Kilronan is built, and finding ourselves on the solid rocks of Aran we proceeded by the guidance of two Claddaghmen, and one native (Aranite) to the head Inn of Aranmore, in wch., being now chilly and fatigued, we were very anxious to get our heads in, and to lay down our heads to sleep for a few hours. I was astonished as I trod upon the (smooth and) level lime stone pavement of the village, and many wild associations of ideas flitted across my brain, about creation, earthquakes, and other incomprehensibilities before we reached the head Inn. On arriving at the house our sailors rapped at the door several times, but no answer was made, which made me believe that they brought us to the wrong house, at which the youngest of them pushed in the door!


Immediately after this, I observed a slimmer of light, and heard a voice inviting us in. The man of the house was drunk, and having been very unruly the evening before in quarrelling with his wife and all that came in his way, he was after getting a beating from the priest, who deemed it his duty to beat him into something like rationality I heard a good deal about his history since but I disdain to waste my time (in) talking about such a being.

The low life which in hovels grovels, novels May paint.

I gave each of the sailors two glasses of little still whiskey each, and then after paying the Nauclerus 18 shillings, I took one glass of mountain dew punch, and went to bed. My sleep was feverish and by fits and starts, being excessively hungry and not having been able to get any bread. We got up at 10 o'Clock and after breakfast set out for Kilmurvy, where being


attracted by the towering barbaric splendour of Dun-Aengus, we made to that fortress at once and spent the entire of that day in examining the nature of its architecture and measuring its extent.

We returned in the evening at 8 o'Clock to Kilronan, a distance of 4½ miles. I never felt so fatigued from any journey, having all day walked about (on) the solid rock. The next day we directed our course to Killeany, where we were very much disappointed at finding the group of churches mentioned by Dr. Quaeleus as existing there in his time nearly all destroyed. We were however at once able to identify the names of those which remain. I viewed the stump (while I was conversing with old Mr. Wiggins, the oldest man on the island; Mr. Wakeman was sketching the stump of the tower, but I could not wait for him to sketch every remain we met, as will appear evident from the descriptions already given) of the Round tower with great interest and lamented that the curse of Cromwell came over the Templemore of St. Enné. From the stump of the round tower we proceeded to the little Hermitage of St. Benignus situated on the summit of the hill too far off (from the Citadel of Arkin) to have fallen a victim to the profane plunderers. From this we proceeded to Teaghlach Enné near the sea shore, but were much disappointed at finding that the tomb of St. Enné (and those) of those [sic] of the 120


other saints were buried in the sand. From this we returned to Killeany to view the Great fort of Cromwell, which we found in a state of great dilapidation. Here we met Martin O'Mailley Esq, a very civil gentleman who told us that this fort was built on the site of the Castle of Arkin for the purpose of defending the Dutch fishermen to whom the English Government in the reign of William III, sold the fisheries on the western coasts of Ireland. I did not feel inclined to believe this to be a fact.

On the next day (Sunday] we set out to view the fort of Eochoill, and spent all that day in examining it and the light house, the reflectors of which are very brilliant. King Aengus, when he erected his massy fortress, never dreamed that science would advance so far at any period as to erect such a tower as this for the purpose of guiding the ships passing Bealach Locha Lurgan. The glass in this light house did not receive the slightest injury from the memorable storm of the 6th/7th of January last, though exposed more than any other object on the island to the fury of its tornados.

On the 15th we sailed for the Middle Island from the little harbour of Kilronan employing the boat of Mac Dara Costello, the son of our host to whom


we were obliged to pay 5s. before he would pull an oar or hoise a sail {the Aran men are well paid for all their (work, for) even the priest must pay them}. We landed on the Middle island at 35 minutes past 11, and proceeded directly to Dun Conchobhair terrifically crowning the summit of the island. I arrived at this fort precisely at 12 o'Clock and fixed a line north and south (within it) for the purpose of describing and measuring it with accuracy. I was delighted with the state of preservation in which I found it but lamented that its doorway was totally destroyed. It is a much finer specimen of the Cyclopean style of architecture than Dun-Aengus. From this fort we proceeded to the Virgin's chapel and the Church of the seven sons of the King &c. Thence we set out for a stone fort in the townland of Mohar, and thence to Kilcannonagh, which is near the sea shore. Here after examining the church, we employed a Currach and three men to get across to the South island. They ferried us across in one hour. We got finished on the South island the same day and employed a Currach late in the evening in which we returned to Kilronan


that night. This was working hard no doubt. On the following day we proceeded to Kilmurvy and thence to St. Brecan's church in the townland of Onaght, and on our way back examined several churches lying between Port Murvy and Monaster. On the next day we examined the most ancient and most curious fortress on Aranmore, i.e. Dubh Chathair with (the antique aspect of) which I was much gratified.

On the next day I was determined, if possible, to sail back to Galway, or get myself landed somewhere on the north shore, leaving Mr. Wakeman to go over the three islands again to make careful sketches of all the remains which we had identified with their ancient names. The priest procured the best boat on the island for me, for the moderate charge as the (owner) avered, of 12s. 6d. Up to near 12 o'Clock the sea presented too angry an aspect to venture on it at all, but about 12 exactly the storm abated a little, and Paidin O'Flaherty, the proprietor of the boat, said that he would venture (out), his boat being so very good. I embarked at the little quay of Kilronan and (the men) hoising the sail with great


courage and cheerful(ness) we soon found ourselves riding on the swollen billows CA pháidín a mhic na caillighe nach breagh an fhaige í!), the wind blowing directly from the South east point. We sailed very well for about two hours nearly in the direction of Caslah Bay, when suddenly the breeze grew brisker, the clouds assumed a louring aspect, & the waves dashed over the boat from stern to stern, which wet us to the skin.

D'fás gairbhe 'san ngaoith aguh fuasnadh 'san bh-firmament gur shuaill ná"r fuadaigheadh an seol á ghlacaibh fear d'ionnaibh téad agus táchladh hi bh-fraighthibh na firmamenti, agus at bhert na maraidhe d'én toil agus d'en aenta cor chóir cur a d-tír a g-cuan an fir mhóir no a g-cuan chaisle comh luath agus do chaenacdaís.

The sailors wishing to land me on the north shore asked me if I wished (it) {thinking that I was a good deal terrified} but I told them that there was no danger, which they knew very well themselves. When they came near Caslah Bay they tacked and steered in the direction of Black head which looked very far off. At the hour of eight (seven) o'Clock we came after countless tackings very close to Black Head, when a violent storm arose which alarmed the men very much. They took down the two sails during this squall, and we were tossed (sailless) about for about ½ an hour.


I got into the forecastle of the boat to avoid the dashing of the waves which annoyed me (not being able to bear much wet), but there I got quite sick from the smoak and water dashing down the Scuttle hole which served for a chimney. When the storm had subsided a little the sailors reefed and hoised the sails again and found to their great satisfaction that during the squall the wind had veered about a little to the S. West, at seeing which the stiurasmann cried out in Irish all is right now, thank God, we shall get to Galway now in a few half hours. In this, however, he was disappointed for we did not reach Galway till 10 o'Clock.

I commenced writing about the Islands on the 3rd of August, and finished my lucubrations on the 26th.

Your obt. &c. Servt.,
John O'Donovan.

Taylor's hill near Galway
August 26th 1839.

Ceileabhradh uaim-se d-Árainn;
'se théidheas anun trem Árainn
Scaramhuin leat a ghradh mo choim;
Uair duit-si námá ádhroim.
A sherc mo chroidhe 's mo Árann,
A thréig mé a n-inse Árann
Soraidh uaim chugat gach Luan
Uair duit-si namá adhroim.
Go dtigidh cech die Sathrainn
De nimh chugat a n-Arainn
Aingil mhóra ag cantain ceoil
Ad' bhenncadh a Áine Álainn.

S. O'D.