Scattery Island

Scattery Island, Kilrush, County Clare

Scattery Island is located off the coast of Kilrush in County Clare. There are ruins of six churches and one of the highest Round Towers in Ireland at 120 feet high. At ground level, it has the rare feature of a door. Scattery Island Monastery was where King Ivar of Limerick was slain by Brian Boru (Bryan Boru), King of Munster at the time, in single combat in the year 978.

The island had many invasions down through the centuries, the Vikings attached and occupied the island during the 9th century but Brian Boru later recaptured the island. Apparently the name Scattery is derived from the Viking word for treasure, which is Scatty.

Situated next to the round tower on the island is the main church, the Teampall Naomh Mhuire (Cathedral of Saint Mary). In the 12 century Scattery administered to a diocese. St. Senan is believed to be buried on the Island in the year 544 in St. Senan’s bed beside the Temple Senan, a small 12th century Romanesque church. There is an image of a bishop’s head on the outside of the east window of the Cathedral believed to be that of St Senan.

At one time the island housed over 140 people up to 1841 to 1881. However due to economic decline the population began to reduce. The island became uninhabited in 1978. Today there are abandoned remains of the community who once lived there including a lighthouse, a street, old cottages and the church which host the grave of the past inhabitants. There are regular boat trips departing from Kilrush marina during the high season. There is also a small visitor centre on the island with guided tours, which are available free of charge.