THE LOCAL AREA
The village of Fahan is located on the Inishowen Peninsula in North Donegal. The Irish form of the name is Fathain, which is a development of original Old Irish form Othain, the dative form Othan. The word Othan is of unknown etymology but it appears to refer to a grave or burial place. In the 6th century, Mura a disciple of St Colmcille founded the monastery in Fahan on land donated by King Aodah, a member of the ruling O'Neill clan of Inis Eoghain. Mura was appointed its first ruling abbot. The wealth and privileges of this family may have helped in making the settlement a centre of learning and culture for several centuries. The Abbey was abandoned or destroyed in the 12th century possibly as a result of Viking raids. Another Abbey was built on the site and it, too, was destroyed at the time of the reformation. The church lands were eventually given to the Protestant Bishop of Derry and in 1622 he saw that the ruins were repaired and a Church of Ireland church built there, which was used until the new church was built in 1820. So Fahan is a well known historical site and is mentioned in all the guidebooks and archaeological surveys.