Scattery Island: The Monastic Settlement
Clare County Library
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Scattery Island is one of Ireland's most interesting island monasteries and owes its origin in the first half of the sixth century to St Senan. Little is known of the Saint's life in Scattery beyond the miracles recorded and the fact that the rule of his monastery was austere in the extreme. Apparently, no woman was allowed to live in or even land on the island.
On the island today rises a fine round tower, and near it, a cathedral, an oratory, Teampall Senain and St Senan's Bed and the church of Ard na nAingeal.
Lying on the route of the Vikings of Limerick, it is not surprising that the monastery suffered severely; it was ravaged and destroyed in 816 and 835. In 972, Magnus violated the sanctuary by carrying off Imar of Limerick who had sought refuge there.

Three years later the island was raided by Brian Boru, slaughtering between 600 and 800 people. The Danes of Dublin plundered it in 1057, those of Limerick in 1176 and an Englishman, William Hoel, three years later did not even spare the churches.

After the English took possession of the island they appointed a series of 'keepers' between 1280 and 1300. The reign of Elizabeth completed the destruction of the monastery; lying in full view of passing ships, the Government's orders concerning the suppression of monasteries could not be evaded.

Cathedral and Round Tower, 1939

Cathedral and Round Tower, 1939
Fr. Browne Collection

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