Devenish Island

Gaze up at the awe-inspiring 12th-century tower and trek up and down the green hills of this tiny Northern Ireland island.

Devenish Island is a historic landmass known for its extraordinary monastic ruins. The tiny islet in Lough Erne is about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) long and less than 3,000 feet (1,000 meters) wide. Learn the history of this fascinating island with a tour of its intriguing vestiges.

Look around the Devenish Monastic Site, which was founded in the 6th century by St. Molaise. It was raided by Vikings in the 9th century and partially burned in the 1100s, before being rebuilt as a parish church in the Middle Ages.

See the iconic round tower and gaze up at its pencil-sharp tip about 100 feet (30 meters) in the air. Check to see if the tower is open to climb. The structure dates back to the 12th century and is the oldest site on the island, alongside the St. Molaise House. Capture photos of these centuries-old structures and imagine life here almost a millennium ago.

Wander over the pleasant rolling hills and enjoy a picnic with a view of the water with the ruins in the foreground. Reach the 15th-century St. Mary’s Augustinian Priory on a hilltop. Admire the church’s tower and cloister and enjoy the excellent vista of the surrounding countryside that is dotted with herds of cattle. The name of the islet comes from the Irish for Ox Island.

Note that children under the age of 16 must be accompanied on the island by an adult. Consider renting a boat to take out on the lake at your own leisure. Take a public tour of the island with one of the operators in town. The tower is generally closed from September to Easter.

Devenish Island is on the southern part of Lough Erne in southwestern Northern Ireland. Drive north for a few miles from Enniskillen and take the ferry to the island from Brooke Park or Trory Point. See nearby landmarks, such as the Lough Erne Championship Golf Course and the Enniskillen Castle Museums.

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