Inishmaine Abbey

We arrived in Cong a little earlier than we expected, so we decided to visit the early medieval abbey at Inishmaine. St Cormac/St Corbmac founded the first church here on the island in the 7th century. The present church was built in the early 13th century, it was listed as a Benedictine cell but later used as an Augustinian nunnery of Arroasian nuns. The nave is entered through the trabeate doorway, pictured below, in the north wall that may have come from the early christian church. A number of ashlar blocks in the nave may have also come from the earlier structure.

In the Book of Ballymote Maelisa O'Connor, a son of Turlough, is given the title prior of Inishmaine. He is record as dying at Inishmaine in 1223. In 1435 a Malachy O'Connor is record as patron of the rectory of ecclesiastical lands of Inishmaine. North east of the abbey is a 15th century gate tower.

Small aumbry in the south wall

East gable

Pictured above is the trabeate doorway in the north wall and a splayed window in the later north transept.

We were both impressed with the gorgeous carvings on the capitals of the chancel arch, pictured above. Inishmaine is no longer an island and can easily be accessed by car, so no excuses.

Situated: On private land. From Cong head west on the R345. Then turn right onto the L1612. After 7 kilometres turn left. 2 kilometres turn right. Go through farm-gates and turn right towards house.

Discovery Map 38: M 1385 6170. Last visit April 2012.

Longitude: 9° 18' 5" W

Latitude: 53° 35' 53" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

Ref:Nicholls, Kenneth. “A List of the Monasteries in Connacht 1577.” Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, vol. 33, 1972, pp. 28–43. JSTOR,

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