An island of 21 acres near the northern end of Lough Leane and about 1.5km from the shore of Ross Castle. The island contains the remains of an ancient abbey founded in the 6th/7th century by Saint Faithlinn (Fallen), where Brian Boru one of Ireland’s high kings, is said to have received his early education. It was on the island that the “Annals of Innisfallen”- a chronicle of World and Irish History- were produced between the year’s 950AD and 1380AD, and are now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, England. The Irish Manuscripts Commission published the text of this manuscript in 1951.
The greatest Abbot of Innisfallen was perhaps Mael Suthain O’Carroll and the Abbey was regarded as the Celtic University for Ireland, Wales, Scotland, much of Western and Northern England, Cornwall, Brittany and the Basque Country, where the princes of these places were educated. This famous Abbot died at Aghadoe in 1010AD.
O’Flynn, O’Donoghue, O’Regan, O’Quirke, O’Donegan, McCarthy were among the names of ecclesiastics connected with the early history of the monastery.
The monastery and Island in 1588 were granted to Sir Valentine Browne and his son Nicholas. They eventually became part of the lands of the Earl of Kenmare. When Ludlow besieged Ross castle in 1652 any remaining monks had to leave. The Hiberno-Romanesque doorway in one of the ecclesiastical buildings give an idea of the early architecture. In 1973 Mr. John McShain gave the Innisfallen Island to the state.