Church Island, Lough Gill, County Sligo.
Pic.(above) Church Island with smaller
Monks Island and in background Killery Mountain and Slish Woods.
Church Island is the largest island on Lough Gill and contains ecclesiastical remains. An early Christian church ruin on the island belonged to the O'Rourkes, chieftains of Breffni.
The church is said to have been founded by St Loman in the 6th century and formed part of an abbey. The building is oblong, has loophole windows and a recess at one end. Near the door there is a cavity in a rock, known as 'Lady's Bed', which was a frequent place of pilgrimage for pregnant women.
In 1416, according to the Annals,
'The church on Church Island, Loch Gill, was burned this year and O Cuirnin's books, including the Lebar Gerr of the Muinter Cuirnin, and his splendid valuables, his ornamental cup, his timpe and his harp were burned in it.'
Copyright ©Áine 2004.