Ardfert Friary Church




N 52° 19' 49.0"   W 009° 46' 26.1"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

Q 79120 21284

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Thursday 27 June 2013

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The friary is a little outside the town of Ardfert. A long pathway leads the visitors to the ruins.

This Franciscan Friary was founded by Thomas FitzMaurice, Anglo-Norman Lord of Kerry, in 1253.
The church is a long nave and chancel structure, with a five-light east window and a row of nine lancet windows in the south wall. This design resembles the one of the Ardfert Cathedral which probably served as a model.
Below the nine south windows there are 5 niche tombs added in the later centuries. The two central windows in the south wall have been modified and shortened to accommodate the largest and most elegant of the niche tombs.
The oldest surviving part of the church is the chancel to the east which dates from the 13th century. The arcades that divide the nave from the south aisle were built in the 14th century. In the 15th century the south transept, the west tower and the cloister with all the east and north buildings around it were added.
The most intact section of the cloister is the east range which still retains its passage with a vaulted ceiling. In the northeast corner of the cloister is a carved mask.
The five-storey west tower was built for dwelling purposes. In the 16th century it was used as a barrack accommodation for the soldiers. On the west wall of the residential building attached to the tower there's a nice carving of an angel.

This was our third visit to this friary. The first visit was on May 15th, 2000, the second visit on May 14th, 2002. In both those occasions the weather was gorgeous.
Unfortunately this time the weather was dull, cold and windy, so we felt a bit uncomfortable and the visit was quicker than we would have liked.

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