The literal translation of Toombeola is Tomb of Beola. Beola was an ancient chieftain in the Connemara area of Galway.
Toombeola is also the site of St. Patrick’s Dominican Abbey which was founded in 1427. The Abbey was built with the help of a local Chieftain of the O’Flaherty Clan, who ruled over the Connemara region until the time of King James II of England.
During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the Abbey was deserted by the Dominican Brothers between 1558 and 1559, following an attack by soldiers of the Crown. Local stories outline that one of the last known Dominican Brothers to serve at the Abbey, Fr. John Tully, swam across the Owenmore River in an effort to escape the attack, but was shot and killed by Soldiers on the other side. Locals buried him at the site of his death, although traces of the grave no longer remain.
The Abbey now lies in ruins, although the surrounding Cemetery remains in use. It is believed that stones from the Abbey were used by Tadgh na Buile O’Flaherty, to build his Castle, located at a small island on Ballynahinch Lake.
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