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Inis Caoil - Inishkeel


A parish, partly in the barony of BANNAGH, but chiefly in that of BOYLAGH, county of DONEGAL and province of ULSTER; containing, with the post-town of Narin or Nairn (which is separately described), 8266 inhabitants. This parish, also called Innis-Coel, derives its name from a monastery founded on an island within its limits, of which St. Conald Coel was abbot about the year 590, when he was killed by pirates. It is on the north-west coast, and is 24 miles in length and about 8 miles in breadth, comprising 102,0815 statute acres, of which 80,453 3/4 (including a detached portion) are in the barony of Boylagh, and 21,627 3/4 in that of Bannagh; 730 1/4 acres are in the tideway of the river Guibarra, and 1871 1/4 in lakes. The surface is mountainous and uneven, and the soil various; the higher grounds consist chiefly of rocky pasture; the Aghla mountain rises 1958 feet above the level of the sea, and the mountain of Portnockan contains a vein of lead ore. The island of Innis Coel, or Inniskeel, which is about a mile off the shore, comprises about 65 statute acres. On its eastern side is a good and safe harbour, called Churchpool, affording sheltered anchorage for vessels of 350 tons' burden, except in strong gales from the south-west or north-west, when a heavy sea sets in round the eastern point, sometimes breaking into the bay; the best anchorage is in the middle of the bay. Fairs are held at Fintown on May 16th, and 3rd of July, Sept., and Nov.; and it is a station of the revenue police. The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Raphoe, and in the patronage of the Bishop; the tithes amount to £500. The glebe-house is a good residence, and the glebe comprises 40 acres, of which 12 are good arable land and 28 rocky pasture. The church was built in 1825, at an expense of £900. By act of council, in 1829, 49 townlands were severed from this parish, and 38 from that of Killybegs, to form the district curacy of Ardara. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church, and contains two chapels, situated respectively at Glentis and Fintown. There is also a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. About 100 children are taught in two public schools, of which the parochial school is partly supported from Col. Robertson's fund; and there are two private schools, in which are about 60 children. There are some remains of the monastery on the island of Inniscoel, consisting chiefly of the ruins of the church, near which is a well, dedicated to St. Conald Coel, to which numbers resort annually.


(Extract from A Topographical Dictionary Of Ireland by Samuel Lewis, 1837)



Last Updated 6 Jun 2023

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