Scattery Island: Teampall Senain and St Senan's Bed
Clare County Library
 Home | Search Library Catalogue | Foto: Clare Photo Collection | Search this Website | Copyright Notice

Teampall Senain stands on the higher ground north of the main group of churches and commands a fine view upriver. It has been extensively rebuilt on bad foundation and consists of a nave and chancel. Writing in 1838, John O'Donovan has left the following description:

'About twenty perches to the north of the Tower there is a small Church called Teampull Sheanain, i.e., the Church of St. Senan. In its present form it does not look old at first sight, but upon a close examination it will be found to be an old Church, remodelled and patched up at various periods - Febh Bríste Sheaain Scuirre. It consists of Nave and Choir, and its measurements are as follows:-

Length of Nave 23 ft. 10 inches.
Breadth of Nave 16 ft. 9 ins.
Length of Choir 10 ft. 10 inches.
Breadth of Choir 10 ft. 9 ins.
Thickness of walls of Nave 2 ft. 8 inches.
Thickness of walls of Choir 2 ft. 3 inches.

The west gable is featureless and seems to have been all re-built. The south wall contains a pointed doorway, built of small stones and evidently not of any very great antiquity. A few feet to the east of it there is a window, broad inside and narrow outside, but so curtained with ivy on the outside that I could not obtain its dimensions. All the choir arch is destroyed except a small part of the north side which looks very primitive. The south wall of the choir contains a small quadrangular window but very modern and not worth description. The only part which looks ancient is a small window in the east gable measuring five feet in height and three feet eight inches in width on the inside and on the outside two feet eleven inches in height and eight inches in width.'

Immediately to the west of Teampall Senain is a small building known as St Senan's Bed. It is believed that St Senan is buried here. It is said he died at a community house for women which he founded at Kylenagallagh on March 8th 544. This small oratory measures twenty one feet eight inches in length and eleven feet two inches in breadth. The entrance is blocked by a metal bar, to remind young females not to enter as local folklore tells that those who enter will never bear children.

A large recumbent cross-slab of possibly ninth- or tenth-century date lies a short distance beyond the west wall of St Senan's Bed. The slab, measuring 159cm by 60cm has an incised cross with interlaced ends and bears the inscriptions 'ór do Moinach'(a prayer for Moinach) and 'ór do Móenach aite Mogróin' (a prayer for Moenach tutor of Mogrón).

<< Back to Scattery Island: The Monastic Settlement