Publisher closed 1906, but card dated 1912
Publiser: John Evelyn Wrench
Innisfallen Abbey is located on a picturesque island on the lake of Lough Leane (“Lake of Learning”) in Killarney national park. Tradition holds that it was founded in the 6th Century as a leper colony by Saint Fionán (Saint Finnian), whose life was dedicated to tending the sick. The church was later established as an Augustinian priory, and quickly became a centre for education in the early Christian world. It’s greatest scholar was the monk Maelsuthain O’Carroll (‘chief doctor of the Western world’), who gained great eminence and respect amongst contemporary princes. He was friend to the famous king Brain Boru, and it is claimed that in the 10th Century, the king was educated under Maelsuthain’s care at Innisfallen, and Maelsuthain is later named as the king’s counsellor during his reign. Innisfallen’s remote location did not protect it entirely from the outside world. It was twice raided by Vikings, and in 1180AD, it was plundered by Maiilduin, son of Donal O’Donoghue. The monks quickly recovered from this setback, and the church continued to flourish as a centre of learning.
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Although the abbey was formally dissolved in 1540AD, passing into the hands of Richard Harding, it is not known whether it was abandoned at this time. The monks of neighbouring Muckross Abbey remained in residence until the 1580s, and the remote location of Innisfallen may have allowed it some respite. It is know to have been abandoned by the time Oliver Cromwell’s troops ravaged Ireland, however, in the mid 17th Century.
Isle of Albion
While the abbey dates back to the seventh century, the oldest extant structure, dated to the tenth century, is the western two-thirds of the abbey church. The remainder of the church and the main abbey complex were constructed in the thirteenth century. A third structure, an oratory with a Hiberno-Romanesque doorway, dates from the twelfth century.