Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lough Corrib, Inchagoill Island and Christian myths.

Having friends to stay always give us a good excuse to go to places that we have not yet visited as well as taking them to places that we know and love.
 Our first trip of their stay took us to Lough Corrib and a lovely two hour boat trip to the Island of  Inchagoill, translated it means the Island of the Foreigner, the foreigner in this case is believed to be St. Patrick, his sister and her son. They are said to have been banished to the island by the Pagan priests of Cong. What happened to St. Patrick after his banishment is not mentioned, but it's a nice myth.
Lough Corrib is some forty miles long, nine miles wide and 152 feet deep at the deepest part,  it is the largest lough in the Republic of Ireland and considered to be one of the best fishing lakes in Europe, it boasts around 365 islands, ten of which are still inhabited.
On the banks of the lake is Ashford Castle the foundations of which date back to 1228 A.D built as a Norman Fortress by the De Burgo family, falling into disrepair in the 1800's it was rescued by the Guinness family, it was sold to the state for a mere twenty thousand pounds in 1939, today it is leased to Irish American investors and is a renowned hotel. It is certainly very imposing.
A forty minute cruise brought us to Inchagoill Island which covers some 104 acres and is the site of two church ruins,
5th Century church ruins.
one dating back to the 5th century,
the new church being built  in 1180A.D, little remains of the earlier church, just four walls but the church yard is interesting.
Grave stone of St. Patricks nephew ?
 Legend has it that one of the graves is that of St. Patricks nephew and navigator and the inscription is said to be the second earliest Christian inscription on any grave stone in Europe, the earliest being in the catacombs in Rome.
The New Church. Circa 1180
It would have been nice to have had more time on the Island and to have been able to explore but you have to stay with the guide. I just wonder what other things are on the Island given that it was inhabited for two thousand + years and the last resident left in 1948.
We enjoyed a picnic near the quayside, everything having come from our garden and home baked, desert was wild blackberries, what could be better? 
From the lough we then visited the Monastery at Cong, this dates back to the 12th century and would have had some 3000 inhabitants comprising of monks and lay scholars.
 Not much of the Monastery remains, but it would have been very imposing in it's time,

of the twenty four cloister colonnades remaining not one is the same, the stone carvings are lovely.
The setting is beautiful on the shore of Lough Corrib, the monks would have wanted for nothing, they certainly knew where to build.

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