There is a lake in North Munster with a large island which has a church and an ancient religious order. No woman or animal of the female sex could enter this island without dying immediately. This has been put to the proof many times by means of cats, dogs and other animals of that sex, which have often been brought to it as a test, and have died at one.
So wrote Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald the Welshman) in 1187 when he also declared the site the “31st wonder of the world”.
Monincha, known in Irish as Mainistir Inse na mBeo, means Monastery of the island of the living. The monastary, formerly on an island was founded in the 8th century but later in the 18th century the land was drained. It is an example of a nave and chancel building and you can see examples of Romanesque style on the decorations in the west doorway.
The reconstructed High Cross has a 9th Century base with the cross head being 12th century.
A part of Roscrea Heritage Trail, you can download maps and commentary from http://www.heritagetrails.ie/explore/roscrea-heritage-trail/
How do I get there?
When researching Monaincha, I read that it was “the best kept secret in Tipperary”. That’s because unless you know where it is, you won’t find it and the non existent signs don’t do much to help you.
First, if you have time, drop into the Tourist office in Roscrea and get a map of the area. If you’re in Roscrea town and you’re driving (the highly recommended transport option), head for the old Dublin road.On the final roundabout, you’ll see a sign for St. Anne’s and if you take this exit, you’ll see the sign for Monaincha. That is the last sign you see until you get to the lane. From the roundabout exit, it is about 3km on a small road to the site. You will recognise the lane because there is a little memorial and sign there.
The good points.
This place is amazingly stunning and an absolute must see. I recommend you leave the car at the top of the lane and walk in. The walk is so peaceful and serene and you get a great view of the site from the entrance. There is no entrance fee but remember that you are on private property and should respect it accordingly.
There is a commentary available on the website I listed above.
The not so good points.
The signage to the site isn’t great. For us it was ok because we knew where to go but for visitors not familiar with the area, it would be almost impossible to find it.
The wind turbines, just further down the road from Monaincha are well worth a visit. .
- All photos are my own and were taken on my visit except the map which is from heritagetrails.ie. Be sure to follow me on Instagram (iamshaunabrowne) and Twitter(@backhomeinirl or @iamshaunabrowne) for more photos and adventures around Tipperary.