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Cashel Dominican Friary Church
 

County

Tipperary

Coordinates

N 52° 31' 04.92"   W 007° 53' 17.28"

Nearest town

Cashel

Grid Ref.

S 07592 40748

Map No.

66

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

112

Date of visit

Wednesday 17 June 2015

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The Dominican Friary seen from the southwest.


Cashel is mainly known for its Rock and for Hore abbey, so I think that this small friary goes almost unnoticed.
It was founded in 1243 by Archbishop of Cashel David MacKelly, former Bishop of Cloyne, for the Dominican Friars from a monastery in county Cork. The church was dedicated to St. Dominic.
The Domenican friars held their General Chapters here in 1289 and 1307.
The south transept was built in 1270.
The building was destroyed by a fire, but it was rebuilt by John Cantwell in 1480, when the central tower was added.
What remains today are the massive central tower and the main walls with nice traceried windows in the east and west gables and in the south transept. These windows were probably inserted in the 15th century, during the rebuilding.
At that time it was regarded as the most beautiful of the Dominican buildings in all Ireland.
Edward Brown, the last Prior, surrendered the Priory to king Henry VIII during the dissolution of the monasteries. On May 5th, 1544, it was granted to Walter Fleming, a merchant of Cashel, for a rent of 2s 6d.
The south wall of the east section had nine lancet windows, today only their pillars remain. The north wall in this section shows traces of niche tombs.
Into a niche in the north wall of the nave there are two nice carved figures. One shows an infant standing, with his arms bent and his hands on his belly. The slab is broken and his feet are missing. His eyes are closed. The other figure is a head with something that looks like a crown. No face features survive.
On the outer side of the north wall some corbels are visible. They might be the scant remains of a cloister now gone.
The church is aligned to the east (100°).
The monument is padlocked, we were lucky enough to get the keys to open the gate so that we were able to visit it inside.


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