Scattery Island: Clog an Oir
Clare County Library
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Some of the most enduring stories about Scattery Island relate to St. Senan's Bell - Clog an Óir - and its shrine. The bell is said to have descended ringing from Heaven and reached St Senan at Cross, between Kildimo and Farighy in west Clare. It has been associated with many mysteries and miracles over the centuries. It was believed that it avenged any oath taken upon a falsehood by striking the perjurer with convulsions and death or, at least, with disfigurement and distortion of the face. Consequently, the use of the relic was often sought by persons whose property had been robbed. It is told that a gentleman living in County Galway sent his servant to borrow the bell to test his servants about a theft. His messenger happened to be the thief, and on the way home again threw the dreaded object into the sea. He then told his master that the Keanes, who held the bell, would not lend it. 'You are a liar,' said the master, 'for there it is on the table before you.' The man fell on his knees and confessed.

The bell was last asked for in 1834, when a farmer had been robbed of twenty pounds, and borrowed the bell to swear the neighbours after Mass. On the Saturday night before the ordeal his family was awakened by a crash, as something was thrown in through the window. This proved to be the missing notes, tied with the original string. There are many similar stories, and the Clog an Óir is said to have been stolen, but to have always returned to its rightful owners.

The antiquarian T. J. Westropp writing in 1915 has attempted to trace the movements of the bell and its shrine. The bell shrine is now in the National Museum in Dublin. There is confusion as to whether a late 8th to 9th century bronze bell from Scattery, now held in the British Museum, is the bell which the shrine was made to encase.



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Bell Shrine of St Senan (front)
Bell Shrine of St Senan