Lough Gill Tours

Lough Gill ToursI had a wonderful day today, it was a tour of Lough Gill that was on my ‘to do’ list since last year.  I contacted Eddie who has a boat and runs tours.  It’s brilliant because it’s tailor-made to whatever the client wants.  Eddie can take you around the Lough, or to the islands.  He will stay with you or drop you off and collect you later in the day.  I wanted to see the islands, I was hoping to go to Innisfree, Beezies and Church Island but the general consensus was that there wasn’t anything to see on Innisfree and there was nowhere to walk on it either.

Heading for the islandsIt was a very misty start to the day, but really magical heading from the Garavogue river towards Lough Gill.  My friend Kate came along with me and we really enjoyed the peace and quiet and being at one with nature.

DSCF1756On Lough Gill the grey turned to blue and the sun decided to make an appearance.

The two largest islands on Lough Gill, namely, Church Island or Inis Mor, and Cottage Island (also known as Beezie’s Island), each contain ecclesiastical remains.

Church IslandWe headed to Church Island first, there were people camping there and I think they were still asleep so we kept quiet and headed for the church.  This is an early Christian ruin and belonged to the O’ Rourkes, chieftains of Breifnet. In 1946, according to the Annals, ‘the church of Inis Mor was burned, and Screaptra O Curnin and the Leabhar Gearr of the O’ Curneens, as well as many other precious objects, were burned.’ The church is said to have been founded by St Loman.

View from Church IslandAbove is the view from Church Island.  It’s a really lovely island, I would recommend spending a few hours out here to explore it properly.  We didn’t stray too far from the boat as knowing my luck I would have got lost.

Church IslandAfter our little wander around Church Island we headed back to the boat again and went to Beezie’s Island which is also known as Cottage Island but has been more or less renamed after Beezie who used to live there.

Beezie's cottageThe island contains Beezie’s cottage which was occupied, until her death in 1949, the last resident of any island on Lough Gill.  Beezie was much-loved by local people for her kindness and hospitality. Her love of nature and rapport with wild animals & birds was well-known.  In her early years she was employed as housemaid to the Wynne family of Hazelwood House and when her husband died in 1934 Beezie continued to live alone on the Island, once a week she rowed the 6 miles round trip to Sligo Town for her shopping and pension.

DSCF1820Above is the view looking out of Beezie’s Cottage window.  It’s easy to see why she never wanted to live anywhere except on the island, although it must have been a very hard life for her.

Also on the island is an old church, Eddie was telling us that the island was once a leper colony, we mis-heard him and thought he said leprechaun!  So here’s the church with a little ‘visitor’.

LeprechaunWe had an absolutely lovely time on our tour and I’d recommend it to anyone.  Such a way to relax and forget all about the stresses of life.

Isle of InnisfreeAbove is the Isle of Innisfree, I may not have got to go on it but there’s a photo of it for you anyway.  The rest of my photos from today are here.

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10 thoughts on “Lough Gill Tours

  1. Deb McGrath says:

    All the pictures from today on the Loogh Gill are fabulous. Saw all the Islands from the Rose of Inisfree but loved seeing them from the land !!Thanks

  2. Kate Denison Bell says:

    Fair play to Andy for photo shopping in a leprechaun — what a hoot! Thanks so much, Val, for this extraordinary experience with you and Eddie. It was a privilege to visit these sacred and special places in this way, which your photos express.

  3. Ita C (@itacallagy) says:

    Ciara and I were lucky enough to have Eddie as our boatman while shooting the Lough Gill Swim last year…..he’s an absolute gent, can’t praise him highly enough. Being on a boat in the middle of Lough Gill on a calm sunny day, watching the water and the waves as the boat glides along is a beautiful experience, everyone should try it at least once in their life!xx

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