St Muirdach was made first bishop of Killala in Co Mayo by St Patrick. He may have retired to the island of Inishmurray (Island of Murtagh) in Sligo Bay as a hermit, before St Molaise founded the monastery there in the 6C.
Inishmurray is the great island of Irish monasticism. Of particular interest is the surrounding cashel wall and the ‘house’(tomb). Of great fascination is the series of outdoor altars, each having a cross slab in the middle. The great silence has returned to the island since the residents abandoned it in 1948. It is often difficult to land there, impossible with any strong wind and sea swell. If you don’t get there, which we didn’t due to last minute change in the weatherbut the book: ‘Inishmurray, monks and pilgrims in an Atlantic seascape’ by J O’Sullivan and T O’Carragain. It will be the best Christmass present you ever had.