Annaghdown - St. Brendan's Cathedral Church




N 53° 23' 15.9"   W 009° 04' 16.92"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

M 28732 38044

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Thursday 14 June 2018

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The cathedral is at the south side of the graveyard.

Annaghdown is a historic monastic settlement near the east shore of Lough Corrib. Its name comes from the Irish Eanach Dhúin that means "The marsh of the fort". In the area many road signs simply say Eanach Dhúin, and this might be a little misleading.
It is said that the monastery was founded by St. Brendan of Clonfert in the 6th century on a land that was granted to him by Áed mac Echach, King of Connacht. Brendan died here in Annaghdown in 577, but he was buried at Clonfert Cathedral.

The monastic site includes four important buildings. A church, a nunnery, a cathedral and a priory.

This nice building stands at the south side of the Annaghdown graveyard.
It was built not earlier than the 15th century, though it has a wonderful Romanesque east window, dating from the 12th century, most likely taken from the nearby Annaghdown Priory. The jambs of the window have a continuous decoration from one end to the other. The central element of the long decoration is a rounded core, the long body of a monster, running from the base of the south jamb, where the creature's body has two feet, to the base of the north jamb where the creature's head bites a group of snakes.
All around the creature's body there are chevrons decorated with floral motifs. All of them have leaves, shamrocks or flowers, but one (the twelfth from the north end) which has an animal, likely a bull, while showing an erection of his penis.
In the north wall there's a Gothic doorway with a wide breach on its side, probably a window that has been removed, damaging the wall. The east jamb of the doorway has a twisted element at the capital.
In the south wall there are two large pointed arch windows. The south wall is supported by a huge buttress.
The west gable has no windows, on the top there a single bell-cot.
On the ground, next to the south wall, there are several fragments from the masonry.

The building is aligned to the east (90°).

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