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Clonmacnoise - Nun's Church Church
 

County

Offaly

Coordinates

N 53° 19' 42.24"   W 007° 58' 41.88"

Nearest town

Shannonbridge

Grid Ref.

N 01446 30906

Map No.

47

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

44

Date of visit

Friday 14 June 2019

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The church in the enclosed area.


Due to lack of time, when we came here at Clonmacnoise last year we had to skip this church, which is about 550 metres northeast from the main settlement.

The church is signposted at the main monastic settlement, but the signpost seems to point to something within the adjoining graveyard to the east of the monastic site, so most people miss it.
Nun's Church is in an enclosed area at the end of a segment of the ancient Esker Riada.

It's a nave and chancel church with a magnificent Romanesque three-order doorway in the west wall and a likewise magnificent archway to the east (90°), between the nave and chancel. The chancel is partially missing and no trace of the east window can be seen, apart from a reconstructed small opening that was likely the top part of the light of the splayed window. Against the east wall there are traces of the original altar. The chancel is slightly narrower than the nave.
The church was built in 1167 by Dearbhfhorgaill, wife of Tighearnán Mór Ua Ruairc, the 19th King of Breifne. Later on the church fell in disrepair and the doorway collapsed, but it was reconstructed in the 19th century.
The church has been recently repaired.

The doorway orders are decorated with geometric designs and beakheads, especially on the arch of one of the innermost orders.

The chancel arch is larger than the doorway and all the capitals bears human and animals carvings, along with interlaced and geometric motifs.

The setting of this church is idyllic, away from the crowd of tourists of the main monastic site.
A real jewel.


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