Oughterard June 5th 1839.

Dear Sir,

Since I wrote last I have travelled a good deal through the parish of Kilcummin and landed on some of the islands in Lough Corrib but I have met nothing to interest me much except two little Churches on Incha Goill, which lies in the lake midway between this and Cong. These Churches are very ancient and worthy of attention particularly, in consequence of an inscription on a stone near the more modern of them, which is perhaps the oldest monument of letters in Ireland. Have we any historical account of the Gall Craibhtheach or pious foreigner from whom this island was called Inis Gaill? Tradition says that the more ancient of the Churches on this island was founded by St. Patrick, but it preserves no reminiscence of the Gall Craibhtheach but his name or rather cognomen. It is believed however that it is over him this stone was placed and that it is his real name is on it.


It is stated in the Book of Lecan, as interpreted by the Revd. P. Mac Loughlin for the Irish Brigade, that Lughnathan (?) the son of Liamhain(?) (let me have all the notices of this nephew of Patrick's to be found in all the Irish Calendars, Martyrologies, Lives of Patrick, &c &c) a nephew of St. Patrick's, was interred on an island in Lough Oirbsen. I wish Mr. Curry would look for this passage in the original book of Lecan and send it to me as soon as possible. A translation of this inscription was published by Dutton in his Statistical account of the County of Galway, which translation, though given on the authority of a common soldier only, is now generally believed in the country because it proves the monument to be pagan, not Christian, though there are eight Crosses on it! Please to let me have a copy of what Dutton says.

Mr. Petrie, who visited this island fourteen years since, copied this curious inscription for the first time with the skill of an artist and the honesty of a lover of truth. I copied it yesterday with some care and think it by far the oldest I have ever seen though I have been very much puzzled by the forms of three of the letters.

I shall travel while the weather remains fine, and stay within doors (to arrange my notes) when the first wet week comes on. I cannot procure any quiet lodgings here in consequence of the many visitors to Connamara and I fear Clifden will


prove worse. If I do not succeed in getting a quiet place at Clifden to write in I shall return to Galway as soon as possible and write whatever I (shall) have to say there. I do not intend to go near Darcey's nor Martin's either, as any information they could afford me would not be worth a pinch of snuff. All a waste of time!

There are hundreds of little names of nooks, holes and corners in the name books which are not known to the people generally and many of which I am quite persuaded are arbitrary and called after the present inhabitants. Many of these are scarcely worth attention as they will not be retained for half a century. The people deny several of them to be names at all!

I shall remain here till my pay arrives, which I hope will be soon as I am run out. I shall then, or soon after, move to Clifden where I expect to meet Wakeman. Please to send me some vouchers.

Your obedient &c. Servant,
J. O'Donovan.