2.7 Rock of the Hound

Local tradition says that when Colmcille first arrived at Tory island he was met by the local king Oilill who refused to let him land.

Colmcille asked if he could simply have a piece of land the same size as his cloak on which he could build his monastery. Oilill agreed but when Colmcille laid his cloak on the ground it miraculously spread to cover the whole island.

The king was so angry that he set his poisoned dog on Colmcille but the saint made the sign of the cross and the dog leapt into the sea to escape the blessing.

As he leapt to his death, the dog left his footprints on one rock and split another with his tail.

The Rock of the Hound, Tory Island. © Alan Sproull
 

Getting there

Retracing your steps to the Tau Cross, the Rock of the Hound lies to the east of the pier and beach. You might need to ask an islander to point it out to you.

Local artists Antain Ó Míonáin and the King of Tory, Patsy Dan Mac Ruaidhrí, are often on hand to take visitors on guided tours of the island.


 
   
  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs
     

    2.1 An Chros Tau

    As you arrive in Tory the first site to greet you is the Tau Cross. Sitting high on a plinth, the T-shaped stone cross is a symbol of the island’s Christian heritage.

  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs
     

    2.2 The Old Graveyard

    The graveyard is believed to be on the site of an Teampull Buí - the main church of a monastic settlement on Tory.

  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs
     

    2.3 The Bell Tower

    The Bell Tower is the only surviving round tower in Donegal. Although nearly 13 metres tall it is among the smallest of such structures in Ireland. Its date is not known but could be as late as the 12th century.

  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs
     

    2.4 St John's Altar

    This altar dedicated to St John the Baptist is just beside the Bell Tower. There are a number of stones here - including a stone trough, decorated stones and slabs, a quern (millstone) and the remains of the base of a cross.

  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs
     

    2.5 St Brigid's Oratory

    The stone altar of St Brigid lies between the islanders’ houses. On top of the altar are three quern stones (used for grinding corn) and two granite slabs.

  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs
     

    2.6 Church of the Seven

    These are the only chapel remains on Tory Island. Móirsheisear translates as ‘big six’ which is an old Irish word for the number seven.

  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs
     

    2.7 Rock of the Hound

    Local tradition says that when Colmcille first set foot on Tory, he was met by the local king, Oilill who refused to let him land.

  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs
     

    2.8 Cnoc na Naomh

    Local legend says that Colmcille stood on this hill - Cnoc na Naomh - with his companions Saints Fionán, Dubthach and Begley.

  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs
     

    2.9 Ray Church

    This extraordinary 5 1/2 metre high cross stands inside the ruins of Ray Church. It was found broken in the graveyard outside the church, rebuilt and erected inside the church walls for protection.

  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs
     

    2.10 Tullaghobegley

    The ruins of the late medieval Tullaghobegley Church and its graveyard lie on a small mound just to the south of Falcarragh. This tullach - or ‘low hill’ or ‘mound’ - was probably originally a place used for tribal inauguration ceremonies.