Devenish Island is in Lower Lough Erne and can be reached by ferry from Trory Point, three miles north of Enniskillen off the A32 Irvinestown road. A monastic settlement was founded on Devenish by St Molaise in the sixth century and became so important during the early Christian period that it had 1500 novices attached. Though plundered by Vikings in the ninth and twelfth centuries, it continued to be a major religious centre up until the early 1600s. It’s a delightful setting, not far from the lough shore, and the ruins are considerable, spanning the entire medieval period. Most impressive are the sturdy oratory and perfect round tower, both from the twelfth century; St Molaise’s church, a century older; and the ruined Augustinian priory, a fifteenth-century reconstruction of an earlier abbey with a fine Gothic sacristy door decorated with birds and vines. To the south is a superb high cross, with highly complex, delicate carving. Other treasures found here – such as an early eleventh-century book shrine, the Soiscel Molaise – are now kept in the National Museum in Dublin, while the island’s own small museum includes other less notable relics and detailed information about Devenish itself.

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