St. Flannan's Cathedral Church




N 52° 48' 22.5"   W 008° 26' 22.26"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

R 70365 72897

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Sunday 21 June 2015

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The nave of the Cathedral with a timber screen between it and the chancel.

Donal Mor O'Brien built an early church in Killaloe at the beginning of the 12th century but a century later it was replaced by the present cathedral. This was dedicated to St. Flannan who was an ancestor of Donal Mor O'Brien.
It has a cruciform plan with a central square tower which was raised two times, in 1775 and 1892. This has battlements at the top.
The church was built in a period of transition between two architectural styles, from Romanesque to Gothic.

Inside the Cathedral there some interesting items. There's a High Cross which dates from the 11th century and comes from Kilfenora where other similar crosses still are. This cross was brought to Killaloe in 1821 and initially erected in the grounds of the Bishop residence at Clarisford, then in 1934 it was brought inside the Cathedral. Its shaft is plain, the head is a solid wheel with a crucixion scene on one side and a fret and interlaced ornament on the other side.
There's a Ogham Stone which also bears a Runic inscription and dates from the beginning of the 11th century. The runic inscription reads: "Thorgrimr carved this cross", the ogham inscription read: "A blessing on Thorgrimr".
There's a stone font, a quadrangular basin from the the 13th century. It stands on a shaft which is not the original one. The font bears traces of having 5 legs in the past. On one of the four faces of the basin a cross with foliage motifs is carved.
There's a four order Romanesque doorway inserted in the south wall, though it's not in its original position. It was reconstructed in the 18th century from the remains of earlier churches. Other fragments of these churches are stored in the St. Flannan's Oratory outside the Cathedral. It is said that this doorway was inserted here to honor the burial spot of Muircheartach O'Brien, King of Munster, who died in Killaloe in 1119 during a pilgrimage. Two grave slabs at the base of the doorway mark the burial spot.
Other stone details are inside the Cathedral, like the stone corbels in the nave.

We came here for the first time on June 11th, 2001.

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