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National Heritage Week 2021 – looking back to the Irish ‘Crannóg’

National Heritage Week 2021 – looking back to the Irish ‘Crannóg’ 

You can walk across this island in five seconds. The lake waters lap around and about

20 hawthorn trees provide cover” *



Only a five-minute drive from our manufacturing facility here in Inchigeela, West Cork, you will find ‘Mehigan’s Island’ 

in the Loch Allua lake, one of only four discovered crannógs, in Co Cork.  (Pronounced: kron oog)

‘Crannóg’ is derived from the Irish words crann “tree” and óg “young”.


 Crannog - Loch Allua - Lee Valley Ireland


 Mehigans Crannóg in Loch Allua, Co. Cork


Crannógs were founded in Ireland during the Iron Age and early Christian periods - 400 CE to 1100 CE**.  These are

artificially constructed islands. Crannógs; were made of timber, sometimes of stone, and were usually constructed

on islets or in the shallows of a lake. They were usually fortified by single or double stockaded defences.



Families accessed these artificial islands across narrow bridges of timber planking or wattle, most islands seem to have relied on

stone and turf causeways for entry. The bridges and pathways were partially submerged possibly for reasons

of concealment, requiring ankle or knee-high wading.



This crannóg here in the Lee Valley, may have been occupied at least seasonally by the O’Mehigan family, or it may have been used

by metalworkers associated with this family.



We are very fortunate here in West Cork to be surrounded by beautiful lakes, mountains, and history.


Next time you are nearby, feel free to pop by our manufacturing facilities and upgraded showroom, where you will be treated

to some West Cork hospitality. Plus, experience our local area for yourself, including ‘Mehigan’s Crannóg’.







Find our full range of Irish Country Clothing including our traditionally inspired

Grandfather Shirts on our website:





If you are interested in visiting Lee Valley Ireland, you can contact

us via email: customercare@leevalley.ie or by phone +353 2649170 .













* Source (Irish Examiner, 2018)

** CE - Common Era


St. Finbarrs Oratory (Gougane Barra)

The latest edition of our 'Welcome to Lee Valley' series brings us to St. Finbarr's Oratory, probably the smallest church in Ireland and easily in the most beautiful location on the edge of Gougane Barra forest park.





St Finbarr

St. Finbarr (the patron saint of Cork) founded his most important monastery at the island in the lake at Gougane Barra during the sixth century.  He is said to have spent much time in isolation in this serene and peaceful place.  There are many myths and legends which surround the story of St Finbarr, including one where is led by an Angel from the source of the River Lee at Gougane Barra to it's marshy mouth, where he founded the city of Cork. There is also rumour that St Finbarr banished the great Serpant Lu from the Gougane Barra Lake and in doing so Lu created the channel now known as the River Lee!




The current oratory or church which stands on the island dates back to 1903.  Featuring stunning stained glass windows, coursed limestone walls with concrete quoins and a rounded wooden entrance.  The inside has an elegant barrel vaulted ceiling and a freestanding alter.  The church is set close to the remains of the monastery built by a priest called Denis O Mahony who retreated to the island and built this monastery in honour of St. Finbarr.  There are a number of cell structures and a cross which make up the ruins of this historic place.  It is said that one of these cells belonged to St Finbarr, however there is no certainty to this claim.




Visit Gougane Barra

Today the oratory is renowned for wedding ceremonies.  Many couples are transfixed by the beauty of the area and it's unique setting.  Tourists also travel from far and wide to view the tiny church on it's island and the forest park that surrounds it.  Aside from this, the legacy of St Finbarr still lives on as many people make the pilgrimmage along St Finbarr's Path to commemerate the much loved saint of Cork. 

It is most definitely a place to visit in Ireland if you are planning a trip here and if you have time, our wonderful Lee Valley Ireland Signature Store is only a short distance away where you are sure to get a friendly welcome!    

 St Finbarrs Oratory gougane barra Map

 Map of the The Lee Valley, Ireland (Arrow Shows Location of St Finbarrs Oratory, Gougane Barra)


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