St. Colman's Cell

Leaba Mhic Duagh

Useful Information

Location: From Kinvara east on N67 for 6 km. Turn left on L4507 south for 5.5 km. At the small hamlet Cappaghmore turn right on narrow road, after 2.5 km again right. The cave is located uphill from the oratory.
(53.076296, -8.998830)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=5 m, W=1.5 m.
Guided tours: n/a
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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595 St. Colman set out to be a hermit in the burren.


The small cave Leaba Mhic Duagh (Cave of Duagh) is also named St. Colman's Cell or St. Colman's Grotto. More than 14 centuries ago it was the hermitage of St. Colman Mac Duagh after he set out to be a hermit around 595 AD. Colman mac Duagh (~560 – 29 October 632) was born at Cork as the son of the Irish chieftain Duac. He was educated at Saint Enda's monastery on Inishmore, the largest of the Aran island. Here he became a monk and later ordained priest. On Aranmore Island he spent some time and built two churches. Then he decided to go to the Burren and live as a hermit. After seven years he left the place and founded

St. Colman was retired into the wilderness for the benefit of his devotion. He had no living creature about him except a rooster, a mouse, and a fly. The use of the rooster was to give him notice of the time of night by his crowing, that he might know when to apply himself to his prayers. The mouse had a proper office, which was to prevent the Saint from sleeping above five hours within the space of twenty-four; for, when the business of his devotion, which he exercised with great reverence and regularity upon his knees, had so fatigued his spirits that they required a longer refreshment, the mouse would come to his ears and scratch him with his feet till he was perfectly awake. The fly always attended on him when he was reading. It had the sense to walk along the lines of the book; and when the Saint had tired his eyes, and was willing to desist, the fly would stay upon the first letter of the next sentence, and by that means direct him where he was to begin.