Maharees Islands

            Photo courtesy Mark Gorman

The Maharees Islands, often called the ‘Seven Hogs’ situated off the northern shore of the Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry, on the west coast of Ireland. Their names are Illauntannig, Gurrig Island, Reennafardarrig, Inishtooskert, Illaunimmil, Mucklaghbeg. Illauntannig is the largest, the island is situated one nautical mile off the northern end of the of the sandy Castlegregory peninsula that separates Brandon Bay to the west from Tralee Bay on the east.

Illauntannig Monastic Site:-Illauntannig is the largest of the Maharees Islands. The monastery was founded by St Senagh, who was also the founder of Kilshannig on the mainland. Within the thick, curving cashel wall there are the remains of three beehive huts, two rectangular  oratories and three burial platforms. The larger of the oratories is rectangular in plan. It has a lintelled west doorway and the side walls slope inwards. Although it is incomplete there is enough evidence to suggest that its original form may have been similar to that at Gallarus and the other boat-shaped oratories of the Dingle Peninsula.

 

 

 

There is a small east window beneath which is a stone altar platform. The other oratory is a short distance to the east and is set within the thickness of the cashel wall. The largest beehive hut is near the western wall of the cashel. A souterrain runs from this hut to a long rectangular chamber within the western wall of the cashel. All of the buildings are now roofless. Within the enclosure there are three rectangular stone platforms. These are thought to mark important burial sites. Beside one of the platforms is a stone cross 1.8m high. It has bevelled edges but is otherwise undecorated. The four small perforations indicate that a plaque had be affixed at one time. The burial ground for less important people is indicated by a large number of low, upright grave-markers laid out in regular rows near the western wall of the cashel.

 

Courtsey of http://irishantiquities.bravehost.com/kerry/illauntannig/illauntannig.html