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St. MacDara's Island
Cruach na Cara
MacDara's Island.jpg
St. MacDara's Island is located in Ireland
St. MacDara's Island
Location in Ireland
Monastery information
Established 6th century AD
Disestablished before 1100
Diocese Tuam
Founder(s) Macdara
Status ruined
Style Celtic
Location Carna, County Galway
Coordinates 53°18′16″N 9°55′02″W / 53.304424°N 9.917318°W / 53.304424; -9.917318
Public access yes
National Monument of Ireland
Official name St. MacDara's Island Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Site
Reference no. 242

St. MacDara's Island is a medieval Christian monastery and National Monument located off the coast of County Galway, Ireland.


St. MacDara's Island is located on a 60-acre (24.5 ha) granite mountain island off the coast of Connemara, 6 km (3.7 mi) west-southwest of Carna.


Saint Sinach Macdara, patron saint of seafarers, is believed to have built a wooden church on the island in the sixth century.

It was replaced by the present stone building in the 10th century. The roof stones were cut to mimic wood shingles.

Local fishermen traditionally dipped their sails three times while passing the island.

A wooden statue of the saint was paid special reverence by locals; in an act of iconoclasm the Archbishop of Tuam ordered it buried.

Every 16 July, local people make a pilgrimage to the island for a mass and blessing of boats (including the famous Galway hookers). Devotions were also formerly held on 28 September.


A stone church or oratory, probably a shrine for Macdara's remains. There are several cross slabs and an enclosure.

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