Clonmacnoise - Temple Melaghlin Church




N 53° 19' 34.44"   W 007° 59' 08.46"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

N 00954 30665

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Wednesday 20 June 2018

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The east wall of Temple Melaghlin with the double round-headed window. The windows have a moulding around their tops and are linked by a linear moulding.

Clonmacnoise lies in a meander on the left bank of River Shannon, and it is one of the oldest early Christian settlements in Europe.

St. Ciarán along with Diarmait Uí Cerbaill founded it around 544 and he chose a central site in Ireland, at the crossroads of the main Irish river and the Esker Riada, the geological gravel and sand formation that stretches east-west across Ireland, so that the new monastery could be accessed from everywhere.
It soon became an important centre for studying religion and it attracted scholars and pupils from all over Europe, and grew into a large monastic city. It was also an important centre for craftmanship and trade.

In its best period it had up to 17 churches, but today only 7 of them survive in ruins. Along with these ruins, there are also three crosses and two round towers, one of which attached to a church.

Melaghlin was the name of a royal family descending from the Kings of Meath.
It seems that a number of members of this family had been buried within the walls of this building, hence the name of this church, also known as the King's Church.
It's a simple rectangular church, built in the early 13th century, with all walls at their full height. The east (80°) gable has a double round-headed narrow window with moulding on the top and a linear moulding linking them. Internally the windows are very widely splayed and have a double moulding which frames them entirely.
Another narrow window is in the south wall. In the same wall is the entrance doorway. This shows signs of remodelling, and the hood moulding of the original doorway is still visible in the masonry.
The southwest and northeast corners of the building have projecting corbels similar to the ones at Reefert church, Glendalough.

We came to Clonmacnoise for the first time on July 4th, 1994, and again on May 18th, 2002.

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