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In high season some three or four daily ferries run from Kilrush’s marina to Scattery Island, two and a half kilometres offshore (whttp://www.discoverdolphins.ie). A monastery was established here by St Senan in the sixth century, and the island retained ecclesiastical importance until its exposed position attracted Viking raiders in 870, who occupied it until defeated by Brian Ború in the late tenth century. Medieval church building is evident in the form of several ruins, and there is a 35-metre-high round tower in reasonably well-preserved condition, which is most impressive when the sun seems to reflect off its yellowy, lichen-covered stone. This tower’s door is at ground level whereas most others had an entrance above head-height, accessed by a ladder which could be withdrawn for defensive purposes. Derelict since the last inhabitants left in 1978, like many an abandoned Irish island, Scattery has a timeless air. A trip to its southern point, where a lighthouse and gun battery remain from the time of the Napoleonic wars, is well worth making, to experience a sense of peaceful isolation and enjoy the spectacular views from the elevated battery. By the pier the Scattery Island Centre houses an exhibition on the island’s history.

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