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Ordnance Survey Letters by John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry, 1839
Parish of Kilfeeragh (b)
The Bishop’s Island mentioned above lies about two miles south west of Kilkee opposite the Townland of Fuathach. It is very high, not far from the mainland, having two small edifices of stones on the south-east side. Of these two edifices, the most easterly is of an oblong-form and stone-roofed - say about twenty five feet in length and ten in breadth, having a square window in the east end, and a quadrangular doorway in the south side near the west end. This is used as a sheepfold by such of the neighbouring landsmen as have nerve enough to be able to transport sheep thither from the mainland; of the other little edifice scarcely anything remains but the east gable, which contains also a small square window like the other. There is a tradition in the neighbourhood that there was a small burying place on this island, and surely, if it ever had been the residence of man it must have served for the place of his sepulture too, as it would be impossible to bring a dead body down (or up) but by a rope. Mr. O’Donovan and I went for the purpose of getting on the island, but we were deterred by the storm and the frightful steepness of the cliffs. We were, however, enabled to see the construction of the little edifices sufficiently well for our purpose from a point of land immediately opposite. The popular name of this Island is Oilean-an-Easbaig-Ghortaigh, i.e., the Stingy Bishop’s Island, but there is no traditional account of the Bishop.
There is a burying ground called Cill-na-gCaileach, i.e., Church of the Nuns, lying in the Townland to which it has given name. Parts of the walls of the Church were standing here within my own recollection but now there is not a vestige of it to be seen.
Of this Church we have the following account from the Life of St. Senan of Inis-Cathaigh, AA. SS., Chapter XLVII.
There was among the Churches of the Man of God one
which, next after Inis-Cathaigh, was the most dear to himself and the
more venerable to
(his) people, by name Kill-Chaillige, which, as the devotion of the common
people became gradually frigid, was converted into a barn, and which
because the Man of God was offended on this account, was burned, being
set on fire by a little (or young) sparrow, that carried kindled straw
from a neighbouring conflagration (incendio). While (his) people considered
on the rebuilding of it after being consumed by the fire and were preparing
lime and cement for this end, Saint Senanus, appearing in a vision to
a certain husbandman by name Senaninus O’Hettromain,
bade (him) to dig very deeply near the house of the daughter y-bhmacain,
would find there as much lime as would suffice in the rebuilding of the
Church. He obeys the instructions and finds lime enough as was promised
and they afterwards used it for the building, so that how great a quantity
soever they might carry away for the use of the edifice, the remaining
pile, however, would appear without a decrease.
See Life of St. Senan for more.
There is a little burying ground for children in the Townland of Farrahy called Kill, and another deserted place of same name in the Townland of Emmala.