Devenish - St. Molaise's House Oratory




N 54° 22' 14.7"   W 007° 39' 20.52"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

H 22372 46955

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Tuesday 19 June 2018

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The Devenish Island monastery as it appears when you arrive on the island.

We had this settlement on our visit list for years, but never got to actually go to it. When eventually the time was right, we were welcomed to the island by one of the heaviest rains ever seen, so our visit was totally ruined and all the photos are... wet!
My camera was literally flooded by the heavy rain and it took a whole day to recover to full operation.

Devenish Island is the seat of one of the finest monastic settlements in Northern Ireland. St. Molaise established the monastery in the 6th century, along one of the pilgrim routes to Croagh Patrick, in Co. Mayo. The settlement on Devenish Island became a centre of scholarship and later was chosen as the site of the parish church. The settlement was raided by the Vikings in 837, and burned in 1157.
The name Devenish comes from the Irish Daimhinis, meaning "Ox Island".

The remains of a small building are all that remains of an oratory built in the 12th century, and it's the oldest surviving building on Devenish Island.
Unfortunately not much of this important building remains, but it was built with great care, with lots of attention to the details. Every stone of the building was carefully carved and shaped to fit the next ones, and most of them had elegant interlaced motifs.
This church became the focus during the pilgrimages, when people would visit the island on St. Molaise's feast day on September 12th.
Despite its beauty and importance, in the late 19th century the church was used as a quarry for stones to be used elesewhere.

The building is aligned to east-northeast (80°).

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