The islands

Today's Ordnance Survey maps show 3 Islands on Lough Lene: Castle Island, Nun's Island and Turgesius' Island. Collectively they are known as Smythe's Islands. One source claims that the Lake was deeded to the Smythe family by Charles II in 1632. It is certain that William Barlow Smythe of Barbarvilla owned at least 2 of the islands in 1882 when he made a presentation on the Lake to the Royal Irish Academy.

Earlier maps show an additional island, generally called Monks Island, This island would now seem to have disappeared with wet woodland encroaching the area.

There are additional references to one of the islands having an alternative name of Madames Island. The obvious canditate would be Nun's Island but it is not definitive.

Traditionally the islands on the lake appear to have been used as a refuge and a stronghold. The names of the two islands Monks and Nuns, would imply a close relationship with Fore Abbey. Certainly, artefacts, such as the Monks boat and the Bell of Lough Lene , would suggest that there was traffic between the islands and the Abbey particularly in times of trouble when the Abbey was subject to attack.

Another tradition suggests that there may have been a school on one of the islands.

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