St Declan founded the monastery here.
He was a monk-evangelist in S in early 5C, a member of the local Deisi tribe who had strong connections with Wales; he probably learnt in S Wales or Gaul.
Many early founders began as hermits. Others might come in due course to share his life. The hermit’s dwelling would have been made only of brush or wattle. A monastery would often develop from such humble beginnings.
Such was the natural geography of the land, communication and travel would often be by water. Ireland was not so much an extensive piece of solid earth as an widespread sea and river system with stopping points in between. The choice of site for a monastery was often dictated by easy access to water and therefore of travel.
There is a 13C Church at his ‘desert’ (hermitage) on the headland and Holy Well. There is a possibility this may once have been an island. There is an 8C ‘House’ at his grave, a 9/12C church/cathedral in which there are 2 Ogham Stones, and a Round Tower.
There is St Declan’s ‘stone’ on the beach. Wherever we go in Ireland we meet saints’ ‘stones’, ‘beds’, ‘chairs’, footprints, even marks left by their knees, fingers, elbows and so on. These are all part of the folklore which gathered around saints in the wish to give them a connection with a local place.
OS: 82 189 774 marked