Herbs growing on Innisfallen, in Lough Lein, are to come under the microscope during a research project which will include a botanical survey. The plants would have been used by monks, according to local tradition.
The island has well-preserved monastic ruins and its history dates to the seventh century when St Finan founded a monastery there.
Minister of State for Heritage Noel Ahern has confirmed his department is working with the trustees of Muckross House, Killarney, on the project.
Killarney-based Fine Gael senator Paul Coghlan said the project was first mooted by the late Dr Bill Mangan, a former trustee and chairman of Muckross House.
“He had a particular interest in the herbs, which were believed to have medicinal properties. Hence, the botanical survey and, hopefully, the significant information it will reveal,” Mr Coghlan said.
The project, due to be completed next October, will also explore the lives of the monks on Innisfallen.
Meanwhile, Killarney Town Council plans to put a microfilm of the Annals of Innsfallen, which detail some early Irish history, on public display shortly.
The council is also to ask the National Parks and Wildlife Service to provide more information on Innisfallen at Ross Castle, so more visitors would be encouraged to visit the island.