St. Deirbhile’s Church, Aughleam, Belmullet, Mayo
We were blessed with the most glorious weather on the Sunday of the June bank holiday weekend while we were in Mayo. Driving around the coast, out past Mullet and towards a place called Faulmore, we spotted the ruins of St. Deirbhile’s church.
St. Deirbhile’s church (with at least three different spellings – Dairbhile, Deirbhile and Dervla) is built of granite stone and is a national monument. The church is believed to have been built in the 12th century and replaced an earlier structure on the site.
Legend has it that St. Deirbhile was from Meath and fled to the Mullet peninsula to escape an admirer. Once there, she gouged out her own eyes to appear less attractive, and when her lover fled, horrified, she went to a nearby well, washed her eyes and her sight was restored. I’m not sure how exactly this happened, but it was quite the miracle considering her eyes were no longer in her head.
St. Deirbhile’s Well
The well, which is rumoured to heal anyone with sight problems is sited a little further down the road, but I didn’t see it until we’d driven past it. There is an annual pilgrimage to the well with a mass every August, so that is probably the time to go there.
St. Deirbhile’s Church Window
I didn’t realise at the time, but if you squeeze yourself through the window of the church three times, then it is said that you will never die from drowning. That may be true, but chances are, if I’d tried to squeeze myself through that narrow window, I’d have had to call the fire service out to extract me, and there mightn’t be any window left in St. Deirbhile’s church today.
Within the graveyard are several interesting headstones like this one. Whoever lies here has the most beautiful spot overlooking the ocean.
I couldn’t make out what the carvings were in the doorway below, but it looks like it was fairly ornamental at one stage.
Below is St. Deirbhile’s bed or grave, allegedly the final resting place of the saint.