Inis Oírr Sunken Church & Graveyard

The Sunken Church of Inis Oírr

Tour Stop : Yes

Last Updated : 3 February 2023

Teampall Caomhán, Inisheer, County Galway

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The Sunken Church of Inis Oírr, Teampall Chaomháin or St Kevin in English, is a 10th century ruin located opposite the airstrip in the Inis Oírr graveyard. Popularly referred to as the ‘Sunken Church’, it is one of the best preserved examples in Ireland and easily accessible to visitors, but the chancel is the only part of the building that can be seen today. Visitors love this stop on the Wanderly Wagon Tour. The Sunken Church of Inis Oírr is a unique and fascinating historical site.

The Sunken Church of Inis Oírr is a unique and historically significant site that offers visitors a glimpse into the island’s past. It is also a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the local community. Over hundreds of years the church became completely submerged by sand drift, until it was excavated by the local population who continue to maintain it to this day.

A trip to Inis Oírr really isn’t complete without seeing the sunken church. It is the perfect location for those travelling to the Aran Islands and are interested in history; what better than exploring the ruins of a 10th century church. It’s a unique and fascinating location that’s definitely worth a visit.

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The Sunken Church & St. Caomhán

The Sunken Church of Inis Oírr is closely associated with St. Caomhán (St. Cavan in English). According to legend, St. Caomhán, who was an Irish monk and missionary, may have visited the island in the 6th century and established a monastic settlement there. St. Caomhán is known for his devotion to God. He is said to have lived a solitary and austere life, spending much of his time in prayer and meditation. He is also known for his strong connection to nature, and it is said that he had a deep appreciation for the natural beauty of the island.

The island of Inis Oírr is considered to be a holy site because of its association with St. Caomhán. Visitors to the island cannot see the ruins of the monastic settlement he may have founded, and the church was likely built many years after his death, but a well that is said to have been blessed by the saint does remain. The Sunken Church is believed to be built on the site of the monastery.

St. Caomhán’s grave lies just to the north of the church and is today protected from the elements by a roof. Locals and pilgrims celebrate St. Caomhán’s feast day here every year on June 14th.



The Sunken Church of Inis Oírr is not only a unique historical site, but is also closely tied to the spiritual history of the island through its association with Saint Kevin. Visiting the church, and the island of Inis Oírr, is a great way to learn about the island’s history and culture, and to appreciate the beauty of the island.

The Sunken Church of Inis Oírr Image Gallery