Inishglora, also known as Inis Gluaire in irish, is an island off the coast of Belmullet on the Erris Penninsula in County Mayo. It is one of the places where the legendary ‘Children of Lir’ were forced to spend 300 of their 900-year curse. When the curse ended, they went back to their home on the ‘Hill of the White field’ in County Armagh only to find it in ruins and their people gone. They returned to Inishglora and lived out the rest of their years on the island. They are said to be buried there in the same grave.
St. Brendan the Navigator established a monastery on Inishglora and the remains of his church are still evident today. The island is rich in archaeological material dating to the early Christian period, including St Brendan’s well, a nunnery, decorated cross-slabs, a nine-foot-high pillar stone and various other flat tombstones.
There are also the ruins of three beehive huts which were used as penitential cells by the monks. The largest of them is known as St Brendan’s cell where, according to legend, the saint slept and planned his voyages. An old custom required visitors to the huts to ‘break bread’ with one another.
Scattered around the island are several early stone crosses, pillars and the seven stations of the cross, four of which are in the western area. The last station, a rock with two piles of stones, is called ‘Rock of Prayer’ or ‘Cloch na h-Athchuinge,’ in Irish.
Garlic grows very well on the island. Locals say it was planted there by the monks and will grow forever.
The island has been uninhabited since the early 20th century, but many intrepid tourists still make the journey across the wild Atlantic to visit the mystical Island.