My colleague recommended me to visit this special place called Our Lady’s Island, nestling in the most south-easterly corner of Ireland, and ten miles from Wexford Town, near Rosslare in County Wexford.
The day was rainy but when we arrived to Our Lady’s Island it was beautiful sunny there. I was delighted by fabulous and peaceful scenery. This Island is very different from the coastal scenery but truly unique and it has a natural beauty and spiritual feel.
At the point where the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea converge lies this area of unparalleled beauty – Our Lady’s Island is known as Lough Togher or the Lake of the Causeway. It is a small island surrounded by lagoon lake Lady’s Island Lake (Irish: Loch Tóchair) and is connected to the mainland by a causeway which gives the lake its Irish name. It is separated from the sea by a sand bar. There are some other islands and islets in the lake also.
Lady’s Island Lake is an important breeding ground for terns and this is the second largest colony in Europe.
Our Lady’s Island housed an Augustinian settlement, and its church still stands today. Visitors can also view Our Lady’s Well, and the remains of St Vaughn’s Church and a Leaning Tower that dates from the Norman era. You can take a lovely walk around the island with a lake, enjoyed bird life, church, old cemetery and scenic views.
It is one of the foremost pilgrimage sites in Ireland. Our Lady’s Island has been a place of pilgrimage for at least a thousand years. In the 6th century, St Abban is believed to have chosen Our Lady’s Island as the location for his monastery, and sometime in the following century it became a place of pilgrimage. It is by far the oldest, and second only to Knock in Co. Mayo, as the most significant Marian shrine in Ireland.
At the north end of the lake is the village of Lady’s Island. The ‘island’ itself has been joined to the mainland by a causeway, so it is actually a peninsula sticking out into the lake from the village. On the peninsula are a castle, a leaning tower, church ruins and a graveyard. The leaning tower is a small stone tower which was built on unstable ground and now leans at an angle. The space in front of the castle is a pilgrimage site associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary: the pilgrimage takes place in August each year, when believers come from all over Ireland to gather and pray.
The Island has two churches, The Church of the Assumption – the Parish Church and St. Catherine’s in Tacumshane just a few miles away. The church was designed by Edward W Pugin, the son of Augustus Pugin one of the foremost architects of the Victorian age. The church was opened on the 15th of August, 1864.
In the village of Lady’s Island there are The Church of the Assumption, the Community Centre which is housed in modern building, The Island Bar and nice little gift shop.
For more information visit: www.ourladysisland.ie
Location of Our Lady’s Island:
Below my photos taken in April 2022.