Background to the area
or Kildownet is situated in the southern part of the island. It
runs along the scenic route of the Atlantic drive. The area
comprises of the villages of Ashleam, Dooega, Meelaun, Derreens,
Bleanaskill and Cloughmore.
name Chilldamhnait itself means the Church of Dymphna. Dymphna came
from the ancient Kingdom of Oriel (Louth). Her father reigned there
as king. He wanted her to reign as queen and so she fled to Achill.
She founded the church in the 7th century. It was at this church
she helped the sick. St Dymhna died in Geel in Belgium. The church
was remodeled in the 17th century to what it is today.
history of Grace O Malley
which is located next to the church and graveyard is said to have
been built by the ancestors of Grace O Malley. This castle was used
as a look out tower. This meant that Clew Bay was secure from intruders.
Grace o malley
lived on Clare Island and was married to Iron Dick. Teige Roe was
one of her seven sons. He was a rebel and was imprisoned in the
tower of London Grace o Malley went to see Elizabeth the first,
in order that her son could be released. It
is not known when Grace O' Malley was born, but it is thought in
and around 1530. Her father was Dubhdaire. Dubhdaire married into
the O' Malley chlann on Clare island. Margaret Ní Mháile was her
mother she was the daughter of a chieftain. Grace
O' Malley secured much land around the coast through her marriages.
She married Dónal Cogaidh ó Flatherty with whom she had two sons
Eoghain and Tibbert Na Long. The word "na long" is the
Irish word for ship. Tibbert was born at sea. The priate queen spent
her final days a convent in Clare island. It is not known where
she is buried.
lost village of Ailse
graveyard located on the right hand side of the road is what is
now referred to as the quarry. It was there that the village of
Ailse once stood. It was once boasted that ailse was one of the
biggest villages in Achill. In the year 1854 the village was burnt
to the ground. There are two stories connected to Ailse. One story
is told of how the local landlord was riding in the vicinity with
friends. The dogs of the village came down and started barking,
the landlord was not impressed.Christmas eve in 1854 while people
were celebrating with their families the village caught fire.The
second story is told where the local landlord gave the people of
the village a Notice of Eviction in September 1854.They were to
be evicted in November of that year. The village no longer exists.
Many of these families scattered to all the corners of the island.
taken across the mountains and in Chilldamhnait it was no
different. The graveyard and church were one of two on the island.
The other was located in Dookinella. People would travel the long
route across the mountains from Dooega. They rested the coffins
on stones called leactai. Clay pipes were buried with the dead.
People believed that the longest journey to the graveyard was the
shortest journey home.
The church of St Dymphna
church which is located on the left hand side of the road was
founded by Saint Dymphna in the 7th century. On both the left
hand and right hand side of the road lie the bodies of the tragedies
which would cast an everlasting impression of shear sadness on
Achill's history.In 1894 thirty two people lost their lives when
the boat they were sailing on capsized. They had left Darbys point
and were making their way to Scotland for the first time to work
in the potato fields.Migration had been nothing new to Achill
as people had been traveling to Scotland for many years,leaving
in June and returning in September. Some would stay on until the
late potatoes in November. The first train to the Island carried
the bodies of the 1894 disaster.In 1937 ten young men were burnt
to death while they slept in their beds. They to were working
as potato pickers. The last train to Achill would carry their
bodies. Displayed on the gable of the church is the history of