Some Lacken History in Co. Mayo

St Cummin

Saint Cummin (Cuimín) was an Irish Saint associated with the parish of Kilcummin (Lacken) and to the present day, there still remains some religious structures at the North Mayo site. St Cummin's church was believed to have been established by the Saint prior to the 8th century. Nearby are St Cummin's grave and St Cummin's well.

Curative powers were attributed to clay coming from the saint's grave and there was a belief that the possessor of a handful of this clay would not drown. However, the privilege of extracting the clay and dispensing it belonged to families with the surname Machan (Maughan) or Loughney, presumably because the families were known to descend from the wardens of the church.

Standing Stones

Banagher Standing Stone is about six feet high and has a small mound at the base. Legend has it that it marked the first burial of people that died from the plague. A whole village just south of here was wiped out with cholera. This may have been one of the boundary stones marking the ancient territory of Caoile Conall and the Lagan. This goes back to the fifth century. The Foghill standing stone and the Breastagh Ogham stone might be two more of these as they are all in line.

The Sea Wall

The Sea Wall was built along the shore around the years 1930 - 1935. It has a sluice gate which allowed water to flow out but blocked the tidal water from coming in. The present day coastguard station was built before 1837. It was a long building stretching from the main road east to the shore. All the houses were two storeyed. The first one was the 'Watch house'. The next in line was the Chief boatman's house. Third house in the row was the barracks. The Moy Fishery owned the last two houses.


The ruin of an old castle, Castlenageeha (Caisleán na Gaoithe - i.e. Castle of the Wind), stands on a rocky crag on the eastern fringe of the parish, flanked by Killala Bay. The fact that the entire bay would have been visible from the upper storey of the castle suggests that this was a fortress designed for protection from the danger of invasion from the sea. The caste is believed to have been erected by the Burkes and little remains of the original building apart from some of the walls. The name 'Castlenageeha' has been Anglicised and is more generally known as Castlemagee.

The Spire

The Spire, which was also called the perch, was erected in 1869 by the Killala Harbour Committee. It was a steel pole about 12 - 18 ft. high and it had a circular cage near the top. It was there to warn shipping of the dangerous rocks that were submerged when the tide flowed.

It was knocked down on the night of the 17th February 1982 by a 56ft. trawler from Aranmore called the "White Rose". It was bound for Killala Harbour and because of the absence of warning lights, it went aground on the rocks and smashed down the spire. There is a tower there now that flashes at night to warn shipping. It is called the Kilcummin Beacon.

The Camp

This is a small one-roomed hut situated on the east side of the road leading to Kilcummin Head. It has six windows all facing north. The army built it in 1941. The men who worked here were called "coast watchers". They were members of the army and their job was to report all ships, aircraft, wreckage or floating debris that came into their vision. This came to an end when the war finished in 1945.

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