Saints Island Enclosure Archaeological Survey

Dublin Core

Title

Saints Island Enclosure Archaeological Survey

Subject

Lough Derg--Saints Island--Archaeological survey

Description

It is traditionally believed that a monastic settlement was founded here in the fifth century by St. Patrick who installed Dabheoc as the first abbot. There are forty-six islands in Lough Derg but only two of them are of archaeological interest. The original monastic settlement is believed to have been located on Saint's (formerly St. Dabheog's) Island. This became a priory dependant on the Augustinian Abbey of SS Peter and Paul, Armagh in the 1130's and was suppressed and abandoned towards the end of the sixteenth century. The chief concern of the monastery was to minister to the needs of the pilgrimages to the cave, known as St. Patrick's Purgatory, on nearby Station Island. Some sources suggest that the original cave had been located on Saint's Island and that the pilgrimage was later transferred to its present location (Leslie 1961, 9-10). The Lough Derg pilgrimage was famous throughout Europe in the middle ages and a large literature grew up around it (Curtayne 1962, 160-62). An ancient roadway to the pilgrimage site from the village of Pettigo passes Rathnacross ringfort (DG105-002-) and Templecarn old church and burial ground (DG105-003; DG105-015-). The roadway continues to a point on the SW shore of the lake where a wooden bridge (DG101-002-) connected it to Saint's Island. Natural boulders projecting from the lake may be the remains of the supports for this bridge. On the SE shore of the lake is a natural L-shaped stone known as St. Brigid's Chair. St. Dabheoc's Seat on top of a hill to the S of the lake formerly consisted of a stone seat in front of a 'grave-like opening' (O'Connor 1879, 40). The area is now forested and nothing appears to remain of the site.

SAINT'S ISLAND
The remains here include the W half of a single-banked earthen enclosure (DG101-001001-) c. 20m in diameter. A fosse on the outside is up to 1.5m wide. The interior is uneven and overgrown and the E half appears to have been destroyed by a graveyard (DG101-001002-). This consists of a rectangular area 27m NE-SW x 22.5m. It is enclosed by a drystone wall. The interior is uneven and overgrown. At its centre is an irregular pile of rubble with graveslabs indiscriminately placed on it. The 3rd edition of the OS 6-inch map seems to show this as a rectangular foundation (DG101-001003-). A pathway (DG101-001004-) 44m long formed by two lines of grass-grown stones leads NE to the foundations of another rectangular structure (DG101-001005-). This is 9m E-W and 6.55m wide. It appears to be of drystone construction, the walls up to 1.15m wide and up to .95m high. To the NE of this structure is an enclosure (DG101-001007-) formed by a soil-covered stone wall and seeming to represent the NW quadrant of a circle. The diameter of this feature was greater than 18m. There are several other earthen banks and heaps of rubble, seeming to indicate old field boundaries. There is also an indication of an old quay (DG101-001008-) or landing place at the NE end of the island.

The above description was derived from the 'Archaeological Survey of County Donegal. A description of the field antiquities of the County from the Mesolithic Period to the 17th century.' Compiled by: Brian Lacey with Eamon Cody, Claire Cotter, Judy Cuppage, Noel Dunne, Vincent Hurley, Celie O'Rahilly, Paul Walsh and Seán Ó Nualláin (Lifford: Donegal County Council, 1983). In certain instances the entries have been revised and updated.

Creator

Compiled by: Brian Lacey with Eamon Cody, Claire Cotter, Judy Cuppage, Noel Dunne, Vincent Hurley, Celie O'Rahilly, Paul Walsh and Seán Ó Nualláin

Source

Archaeological Survey of Ireland

Publisher

National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Ireland

Date

22 September 2008

Rights

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence

Format

Archaological survey summary

Language

English

Identifier

DD_0292

Coverage

54.6153, -7.8864

Abstract

Class: Enclosure
Townland: SAINTS ISLAND
Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes

References

DG101-001001

Collection

Citation

Compiled by: Brian Lacey with Eamon Cody, Claire Cotter, Judy Cuppage, Noel Dunne, Vincent Hurley, Celie O'Rahilly, Paul Walsh and Seán Ó Nualláin, “Saints Island Enclosure Archaeological Survey,” Digital Derg: A Deep Map, accessed May 24, 2024, https://digitalderg.eu/items/show/312.

Geolocation