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Church Island

 Church Island, also known as Shrine Island, is located in the northwest portion of Lough Carra. According to local folklore, it was initially used as a burial place for kings. Archeological data indicates that human life existed here as long ago as 3000 B.C. Some documented inhabitants of the island include:

  • St. Finan, who established a monastery here in the 6th century,
  • Marbhan, a writer who lived the life of a hermit
  • Cummin Mac Fiachra, a priest who was known for his dedication to the work of decorating many of the nearby Ballintubber Abbey’s scrolls and books.

Cummin’s Church dates back to the 14th century. Today it is a popular site for religious retreats and times of reflection. The church features an altar made of black oak, which grew in this part of the country thousands of years ago. 

There is evidence of a nearby hiding hole of the type used by priests during the Penal Times. This suggests that the church was used as a haven for those who attended Mass in secret during times of persecution.

Excavations conducted on Church Island have also unearthed burial plots near the church that appear to have been used extensively during the years of the Great Famine.


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