The Seven Churches or Dísert Bhreacáin as it is also known was for centuries one of the biggest monastic foundations and centres of pilgrimage along the west coast of Ireland. Breacan is believed to have come here in the earliest period from Kilbrecan near Quin in County Clare. Tradition on the island has it that his foundation rivalled St Enda’s foundation in the east of the island. Indeed the two saints are held to have eventually agreed to divide the island between them. Although termed ‘the seven churches’ there are in fact only two churches with a number of domestic buildings. The title seven is possibly an allusion to the pilgrimage circuit of Rome which incorporated seven churches.
Teampall Bhreacáin (St Brecan’s Church) is a large multi period church c. 8th-13th century. It contains fine massive masonary with an impressive arch, nave and chancel. An inscribed stone in the west gable reads ‘OR AR 11 CANOIN’ ‘Pray for the Two Canons’. Teampall an Phoill (the Church of the Hollow) is a 15th century church smaller and simpler in style. The remains of a number of penitential beds and fragments of decorated crosses are also to be found on site most notably Leaba Bhreacáin and leaba an Spioraid Naoimh. There are also a number of interesting cross inscribed stones and graves in the south east corner of the site. One of these has the words ‘V11 ROMANI’ The Seven Romans written on it and another has Tomas AP (Thomas the Apostle). There used be two Holy Wells -now enclosed-Tobar an Spioraid Naoimh and Tobar Bhreacáin on site.