Eanach Dhúin

Location in Ireland

Coordinates: 53°23′24″N 9°04′23″W / 53.38998°N 9.07299°W / 53.38998; -9.07299Coordinates: 53°23′24″N 9°04′23″W / 53.38998°N 9.07299°W / 53.38998; -9.07299
Country Ireland
Province Connacht
County County Galway
  Dáil Éireann Galway West
  Total 2.776 km2 (1.072 sq mi)
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
  Summer (DST) IST (WEST) (UTC-1)
Irish Grid Reference M286382

Annaghdown is a parish in County Galway, Ireland. It takes its name from Eanach Dhúin, Irish for "the marsh of the fort".[1] The village lies around Annaghdown Bay, an inlet of Lough Corrib. The parish is situated in the Archdiocese of Tuam (Roman Catholic) and the Diocese of Tuam, Killala and Achonry (Church of Ireland).


"The name Eanach Dhúin signifies the 'marsh of the Dún or fort.' The word Dún is one of the most common elements denoting secular settlement in early placenames. It usually refers to an enclosed settlement or ringfort and in the early historical period it appears to designate the principal dwelling of the local king or chieftain. The placename ... probably referred to the marshlands attached to the fort of the chieftain of Maigh Seola, which would have been granted as a site for a church."[2]


Illustration of Monastic Ruins at Annaghdown

Little is known of the early history of Annaghdown, which does not appear in the annals until the twelfth century. Two historical sources state it was granted to St. Brendan of Clonfert by King Áed mac Echach of Connacht. However, some sources believe that as Áed's territory of Uí Bhriúin Aoi lay in County Roscommon, it was not within his power to grant the land of another chieftain so distant from him.[2]

The earliest reliable reference to Annaghdown occurs in Comainmniguid Noem nErenn, composed c. 800, which contains a reference to Ciarán Enaigh Dúin, (Ciarán of Annaghdown). This, together with placename evidence indicates an association with Ciarán of Clonmacnoise as opposed to Brendan of Clonfert. The connection with Clonfert may have been no more than a reflection of an attempt by Clonfert to justify its claim on the church of Annaghdown at a later period.[2]

In the 12th century the diocese of Annaghdown was established. Although not listed in the Synods of Rathbreasail or Kells, Annaghdown diocese survived nonetheless for many centuries through monastic outreach from Annaghdown Abbey. The title Bishop of Annaghdown is known to have been in use from c. 1189. Several bishops, from 1189 to 1485, were systematically elected by its 'Cathedral Chapter' and, despite many counterclaims from Tuam, some were approved by Rome.

Annaghdown Cathedral

In 1410, Áedh Ó Flaithbheartaigh financed the building of a church at Annaghdown.

In 1485, when the Wardenship of Galway was created, Annaghdown was formally united with Tuam by Papal decree, and some of its parishes, Claregalway, Moycullen and Shrule, were formally attached to the new wardenship. However, the title still survives as Bishop of Eanach Dúin, currently held by Bishop Octavio Cisneros, Auxiliary Bishop of New York, since 2006.

The ruins of Annaghdown Abbey and the 15th century cathedral survive as a National Monument.[3]

Annaghdown Castle was erected by the O'Flahertys in the late 14th century, on the east shore of Lough Corrib, where it still stands, now restored.[4]

Drowning Tragedy

On Thursday, 4 September 1828, 20 people travelling to Galway on the Caisleán Nua were drowned when a sheep put its foot through the floor of the boat. This tragedy later became the subject of a famous lament, Eanach Dhúin, composed by the famous blind Irish poet, Antoine Ó Raifteiri. A memorial stone was erected at Annaghdown Pier in 1978 by the Annaghdown Anglers Club, 150 years after the tragedy occurred.

Memorial at Annaghdown Pier, erected in 1978 in memory of those drowned in 1828

The Connacht Journal of September 4 reported the following:

An old row-boat in a rotten and leaky condition, started from Annaghdown early in the morning, a distance from Galway up Lough Corrib of about eight miles, having, it is calculated, about 31 persons on board, who were coming to the fair of Galway; the boat and passengers proceeded without obstruction until they arrived opposite Bushy Park within two miles of Galway, when she suddenly went down and all on board perished except about 12 persons who were fortunately rescued from their perilous situation by another boat. Eighteen of the bodies of these unhappy creatures were taken out of the lake in the course of the day and presented a most heart-rending scene, being surrounded by their friends who came to identify them, and by whom they were removed in a boat to Annaghdown.
The boat was in such an unsound state as to render her unfit for the passage. The unfortunate accident happened by a sheep putting its leg through one of the planks, which produced a leak, in order to stop which one of the passengers applied his great coat to the aperture and stamped it with his foot. In doing so he started one of the planks altogether, which caused the boat's immediate sinking, having been overloaded; ten sheep, a quantity of lumber, and about 31 persons being on board.
Eighteen of the bodies have been found; 12 have escaped, and one is missing. Major Dickson and a party of the 64th Regiment attended and rendered every humane assistance in their power. An inquest was held on the bodies by John Blakeney Esq., Coroner, at which James O'Hara, Esq., M.P., and J. H. Burke, Esq., Mayor, attended, and the jury returned a verdict of "accidental drowning".
The following are the names of the persons drowned and taken out of the lake: Bridget Farragher, Mary Costello, Judith Ryan, Bridget Hynes, Mary Newell, Winifred Jourdan, Mary Flynn, Bridget Curley, Catherine Mulloy, Mary Carr, Michael Farragher, Michael Cahill, John Cosgrove, John Concannon, Thomas Burke, Patrick Forde, John Forde and Timothy Goaley.

It is said that two more were drowned and their bodies were later discovered: Thomas Cahill and Mary Ruane, making a total of 20. John Cosgrove saved two women, but was drowned in trying to save the third. He was a lime-burner by trade. The remains of his house are still to be seen in the Blake estate - "Teach Chosgardha". Raftery's poem seems to be in error in mentioning only 19 victims.[5]


Annaghdown has Gaelic football, hurling and soccer clubs. The local GAA club, Annaghdown GAA, is a sporting club which caters for both hurling and Gaelic football. The playing fields and clubhouse are located in Cregg townland, on the road linking Clonboo, on the N84, to Knockdoe, on the N17.

Corrib Celtic F.C. is the Parishes local soccer club which has also been very successful through the years. Its grounds are beside Annaghdown National School. Also beside Annaghdown National School is an indoor handball alley which caters for Handball and raquet sports such as Raquetball and Squash. The courts were run down for a number of years but have recently been refurbished and a Handball and Raquetball Club was set up about two years ago. You can get to Annaghdown National School through various access road's from the N84. Corrib R.F.C which is a Rugby club is located in the nearby town of Headford.

Poetry & Music

Eanach Dhúin

This poem was composed by the travelling Irish poet, Antoine Ó Raifteiri, as a lament of the twenty people drowned at Menlo, Galway, on 4 September 1828.

"Eanach Dhúin" English Translation
Má fhaighimse sláinte is fada bheidh trácht
Ar an méid a bádh as Eanach Dhúin.
'S mo thrua 'márach gach athair 's máthair
Bean is páiste 'tá á sileadh súl!
A Rí na nGrást a cheap neamh is párthas,
Nar bheag an tábhacht dúinn beirt no triúr,
Ach lá chomh breá leis gan gaoth ná báisteach
Lán a bháid acu scuab ar shiúl.

Nár mhór an t-íonadh ós comhair na ndaoine

Á bhfeicáil sínte ar chúl a gcinn,
Screadadh 'gus caoineadh a scanródh daoine,
Gruaig á cíoradh 's an chreach á roinnt.
Bhí buachaillí óg ann tíocht an fhómhair,
Á síneadh chrochar, is a dtabhairt go cill.
'S gurb é gléas a bpósta a bhí dá dtoramh
'S a Rí na Glóire nár mhór an feall.
If my health is spared I'll be long relating
Of that boat that sailed out of Anach Cuain.
And the keening after of mother and father
And child by the harbour, the mournful croon!
King of Graces, who died to save us,
T'were a small affair but for one or two,
But a boat-load bravely in calm day sailing
Without storm or rain to be swept to doom.

What wild despair was on all the faces

To see them there in the light of day,
In every place there was lamentation,
And tearing of hair as the wreck was shared.
And boys there lying when crops were ripening,
From the strength of life they were borne to clay
In their wedding clothes for their wake they robed them
O King of Glory, man's hope is in vain.


Irish songwriter Dick Farrelly wrote the song, "Annaghdown". The song was recorded by Sinead Stone & Gerard Farrelly on the album, "Legacy of a Quiet Man". Farrelly is best remembered for his song Isle of Innisfree, theme of the film, "The Quiet Man".

Last verse from the song - published by Andic Songs / Mechanical Copyright Protection Society

And when once more the cuckoo’s in the meadow
And mayflies dance along the Corrib shore
In my beloved Annaghdown you’ll find me
And I’ll be back to say farewell no more.


Annalistic references

The Annals of Inisfallen and Annals of the Four Masters contain a number of references to Annaghdown.

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Annaghdown.


  1. "Annaghdown". Annaghdown GAA Club. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
  2. 1 2 3 Early Ecclesiastical Settlement Names of County Galway, in "Galway:History and Society - Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County", Dónall Mac Giolla Easpaig, pp. 800-801, Dublin, 1996. ISBN 0-906602-75-0.
  3. "Annaghdown Cathedral". County Galway Guide. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
  4. "Annaghdown Castle". County Galway Guide. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
  5. "History - Galway Library". Retrieved 2009-08-27.
  6. Lyrics of "Eanach Dhúin" Archived August 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.

IMRO - Irish Music Rights Organisation
Andic Songs Publishing

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