CLARE County Council has confirmed that it is an advanced stage of negotiations to secure the purchase of Holy Island (Inis Cealtra) on Lough Derg.
Holy Island is considered to be of the most important historical and ecclesiastical sites in Ireland, has historical links to Brian Ború and is known throughout East Clare as the ‘Jewel of the Lough’.
The ruins and buildings still standing on the 50-acre island date back as far as the 7th century when the monastic site was established by St Caimin. Buildings on the island include a 24-metre high Round Tower, an Oratory and a number of churches. The island lies close to the village of Mountshannon and is on the UNESCO World Heritage site tentative list as an Early Medieval Monastic site along with Clonmacnoise, Durrow, Glendalough, Kells and Monasterboice.
Mayor of Clare Cllr John Crowe is pleased that discussions are at an advanced stage and said he is “confident the acquisition of this important site can be completed.”
The Clare County Council Cathaoirleach said: “I briefed the Tourism Minister, Pascal Donohue TD, on the current status during his recent visit to Clare and I also have been in contact with the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works who already own land on the island.
“It would be tremendous to secure public ownership of Holy Island this year, considering it is the millennial anniversary of the death of Brian Ború. My Council colleagues as well as Clare’s six Oireachtas members are very supportive of public ownership of this important site.”