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Killursa Church
 

County

Galway

Coordinates

N 53° 28' 03.72"   W 009° 08' 42.18"

Nearest town

Headford

Grid Ref.

M 23973 47017

Map No.

45

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

39

Date of visit

Monday 20 June 2016

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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Killursa church seen from the southwest, when entering the graveyard. On the right in the photo the Leacht Cuimhne is visible.


An early monastic settlement was built here by St. Fursey in the 7th century. The name Killursa comes from the Irish Cill Fhursa.
He was born to a royal family towards the end of the 6th century. He was baptised by St. Brendan and was educated by his monks. When he grew up he was sent to the monastery at Inisquin where he choose to follow a monastic life. He is famous for his angelic visions in which he saw the destiny of man and was showed the punishment for sinners. His fame attracted many young men who wanted to join him in his religious life. One of these visions encouraged him to abandon all his belongings and live as a hermit on small island in the ocean. When he returned to the mainland he founded the monastery today known as Killursa. In his life he also operated several miracles.
He died in 650 in France.
All that remains of his monastery is the church that we visited. Of course it's not the original building founded by the saint, the present church may date to the 12th century.
It's a plain rectangular building with all walls to their full height. The north wall is totally blind. The west wall has a doorway with a doorstep higher than the ground level. The main doorway is in the south wall. In this same wall there are four windows of different styles. Between the west wall and the south doorway are the remains of a wall that probably divided the nave from a hallway. The east (75°) window has two lights and a wide splay. At the east end of the north wall there's a piscina built inside the masonry. At the east end of the south wall there's a beautiful ambry, a niche where sacred vessels or oils were kept. Many plain headstones are in the church.


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