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Clare Abbey Church
 

County

Clare

Coordinates

N 52° 49' 45.12"   W 008° 58' 08.76"

Nearest town

Ennis

Grid Ref.

R 34694 75801

Map No.

58

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

14

Date of visit

Monday 11 June 2018

GPS Accuracy (m)

5
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The access to the ruins is through a small gateway in the southwest corner of the site.


Clare Abbey was founded some time prior to 1189 by of Domnall Mór Ua Briain, king of Thomond, for the Augustinian Canons, and was the first and largest Augustinian monastery in county Clare.
In 1461, when the charter was re-confirmed in 1461, the abbey was dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. Some details of the church date to the 12th century, the two chapels and the central tower were added in the 15th century.

King Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of the Catholic monasteries in England and Ireland and Clare Abbey was dissolved in 1543. However the monks remained at the monastery even after the dissolution.
Over the following centuries the buildings was leased to different families, and in the 17th century it was also used as a military base during the Williamite wars of 1688-1691.

The church is at the northeast of the monastery, with a nave and a chancel aligned to the east-southeast (110°), with a central tower. There are two ranges of domestic buildings, one to the east-southeast, the other one to the south-southwest. A cloister is among all these buildings, with no west range.
The east window in the chancel is a three-light one with a tracery and a small carving of a human face above the pointed arch. There are some windows in the north wall. In the west gable the doorway is missing, there's a wide breach instead.
The outstanding detail in the long east range is the window with an elaborate travery in the south gable.
The south range was most likely a kitchen, or at least it had been some time, there's a fireplace in the middle of the aisle. There's a two-light window in the west wall.

This place was in my must-see list for years.


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