Omey Island is a small tidal island off the coast of Connemara, in County Galway. It is connected to the mainland by a sandy causeway that is accessible only at low tide. The island is home to grazing animals and a rich history that dates back to the early medieval period.

One of the most remarkable features of Omey Island is the ruins of St. Feichín’s Church, an ancient stone building that was once part of a monastic settlement founded by St. Feichín in the 7th century. St. Feichín was a renowned Irish saint who established several monasteries across Ireland, including the famous one at Fore in County Westmeath. He was also known for his miraculous powers and healing abilities, and many holy wells are dedicated to him throughout the country.

St. Feichín’s Church on Omey Island is believed to have been built in a hollow to protect it from raiders and the stormy prevailing winds from the sea. There was also an outpost positioned on the nearby High Island, where some of the monks may have lived. The church was probably rectangular in shape, with a small chancel at the east end and a doorway at the west end. The walls are made of large stones, some of which are decorated with crosses and other carvings.

The monastic settlement on Omey Island flourished until the 9th century, when it suffered from Viking attacks and other troubles. The island was also affected by the famine and the population decline in the 19th century, and many of the buildings were abandoned and buried by the shifting sands. In recent decades, however, the ruins of St. Feichín’s Church were excavated and restored by local volunteers and archaeologists, who uncovered some interesting artifacts such as pottery, coins, beads, and bones.

Today, St. Feichín’s Church is a popular attraction for visitors who want to explore Omey Island and learn more about its history and culture. The island is also a place of devotion to St. Feichín, whose feast day is celebrated on January 14th with a pilgrimage to his holy well on the western edge of the island. The well is said to have healing properties, especially for eye ailments, and pilgrims often leave offerings such as coins, pins, or rags tied to a nearby tree.

St. Feichín’s Church on Omey Island is a hidden gem that offers a glimpse into the past and a connection to the present. It is a testament to the faith and resilience of the people who lived on this remote and beautiful island for centuries. If you are looking for a unique and memorable experience in Connemara, you should definitely visit Omey Island and St. Feichín’s Church.


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St. Feichín's Church



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