Cill Stuifin McGrath

Oilean Dish or Cil Staphen

Told by Henry Blake aged 75 of Kilbaha

At the time of the Earthquake here in West Clare which took place at the time of St. PAtrick (approx 430 a.d.) alot of the land around was submerged. They say that the Oilean Dish or Gil Staphen was a part of the Loop Head peninsula that was swallowed by the water. Of course others say its a hidden city and that there are people there and its supposed to be seen every seventh year. I never spoke to anyone who say it, but they say that if you do happen to see it, well that you will regret it as it brings bad luck.


Told by Tom Curtin agged 81 of The Bograod Carrigaholt

They say it can be seen if you look through the mist but then its supposed to be seen at only every seven years. Some says its seen on the 8th March which is St Sinan (Senan) feastday and others say it appears on the 1st full moon in the Month of Samna (September). Its supposed to be a hidden city of fairies and they used to say that a fellow named Sean Buachall (Brennan) who was born after his father died once when he was out fishing say two giant towers like church steeples underneath the water. That fellow was supposed to be able to see ghosts but he’s dead for nearly sixty years and though a lot didn’t believe that tale, I would as the water around there is a churn-pot (whirl-pool) and maybe there is a hidden town or city there and sure the good people may be living under there. This place is just south of the Loop Head more to the Horse Island side of the place.


Told by Nora Kelly (Thady) of Carrigaholt Village

Do you remember Molly Behan, well she was all in all with the Burtons and they were the landlords — they came after the O’Briens (the first Lord Clare). Anyway Molly is dead now about fifteen years but she used to talk about this Cil Steephen which she always said was an abbey with a choir of fairy monks or druids and they were banished under the sea off Loop Head at the time of the earthquake a long long time ago. They say you can see it every seven years and whoever sees it is the kind of person who sees ghosts. They say t’is very misfortunate to see the steeples of the so-called church. Others used to say that there was a city made of gold down there, but thats only  nonsense.


Told by Mr James McGrath e.x. N.T. Carrigaholt Castle. aged 74

I never took any interest in it whatsoever, but the older people could tell you alot about it. Some of them called in Coill Stoiche which meant a wood or a glen of Stoiche and others used to call it Cil Stuveen and of course  what the others called it to you (meaning Cil Sttepheen) is a wrong name. Its supposed to be a submerged city and it is supposed to have four great towers, possibly like the towers of Babel.



    'And some time make the time to drive out west Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore...'

    Seamus Heaney 


Loop Head Peninsula

Dolphins at Shannon Estuary

Kilbaha Harbour

Loop Head

Ross, Loop Head