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Lough Currane (Church Island) (Termons)

(51°50′11″N, 10°8′0″W)
Lough Currane (Church Island) (Termons)
V 53 67
pre-1974 traditional (Republic of Ireland) Kerry
now Kerry
medieval not confirmed
  • Tessa Garton

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Romanesque church consisting of nave and chancel. The nave measures 9.00 m x 5.96 m and the chancel 5.75 m x 5.00 m externally. Ruined, but with most of the walls intact. The W portal is partly restored. There are round-headed windows in the S wall of the nave, and in the E and S walls of the chancel. There is a stone altar, and a niche in the S wall of the chancel. Only the S jamb of the chancel arch remains, and some fragments of loose sculpture have been set into the wall above the jamb. Eleven cross-inscribed slabs have also been found on the island, close to the church. There are also remains of a number of small stone houses on the island.


St Finian Cam is reputed to have founded the monastery in the 6thc. The island is referred to as ‘Inis Ausail’ in 1058 in the Annals of Inishfallen. The rectory of Inis Uasail is mentioned in 1418 and in 1622 ‘Inishouele’ is recorded as the ‘one prebend left to the church of Aghadoe’ (Trinity College Dublin, MS 2158, 48). The church was partially rebuilt in the 1880s.


Exterior Features



Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Interior Decoration


The chancel and chancel arch appear to be later than the nave and W doorway, and possibly date from the early 13thc.. The relief with a musician is particularly unusual and it is not clear where it might originally have been located. Such figure sculpture is rarely found in an architectural context in Irish Romanesque; other examples being at Kilteel (Kildare), Ardmore (Waterford), Freshford (Kilkenny), and a fragment in the ruined church at Rathblathmaic (Clare). A number of cross-inscribed slabs found near the church may also be Romanesque (see O’Sullivan and Sheehan).

Trinity College Dublin, MS 2158, 48
F. Henry, 'Early Monasteries, Beehive Huts, and Dry-Stone Houses', Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 58,1956-7, 137.
A. Gwynn and R. N. and Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses, Ireland , London, 1970, 31.
H. G. Leask, Irish Churches and Monastic Buildings, Dundalk, 1955, I, 166-7.
R. A. S. Macalister, Corpus Inscriptionum Insularum Celticarum , Dublin, 1945, II, 97.
P. J. Lynch, ;Some Notes on Church Island', Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 38 (1908), 368-81.
A. O’Sullivan and J. Sheehan, The Iveragh Peninsula; an Archaeological Survey of South Kerry, Cork, 1996, 316-322.