Killala History in Co. Mayo
Killala is a quiet seaside resort but the harbour warehouses show that it was once a busy port. This remote little town enjoys a place of disproportionate importance in the history of Ireland, as it was here that the French first halted when they invaded in 1798.
In the 5th century Saint Patrick appointed Muredach as the first bishop of Killala. All that remains of his foundation is the 12th century round tower, which is built of limestone (84ft -25m High); the cap is a 19th century reconstruction. It's door is about 13ft off the ground. The tower was struck by lightning in the 19th century, and repaired by Bishop Verschoyle in 1840.
The present Anglican cathedral was erected in 1670 by Thomas Ottway, Bishop of Killala, using rubble and stones from the ruined medieval cathedral - south doorway and Gothic east window - and is furnished with box pews. The graveyard contains a 9th century souterrain with many chambers.
Rathfran Friary, N.E. of Killala, is the ruin of a friary founded in 1274 by Sir Richard de Exeter for the Dominicans. You can travel to Rathfran by going out the Ballycastle road from Killala and turning right after crossing the bridge over Palmerstown, or Cloonaghmore River. The friary was burned by Bingham in 1590, but the friars remained in the area until the eighteenth century.
The area is rich in archaelogical remains such as:
- Céide Fields (the oldest enclosed farms in the world) are a short distance away near Ballycastle