Callan Friary Church




N 52° 32' 44.0"   W 007° 23' 15.0"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

S 41600 43962

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Thursday 21 June 2007

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The west face of the church.

This building dates from 15th century, built probably after 1467, and it was an Augustinian friary, whose canons originally came from Cornwall in 1193. The earlier building no longer exists.

The church has a big nave, and the chancel is dominated by a square bell tower in the centre of the building.
The east side has a fine window and on the inner side of the south wall there is one of the finest example of triple sedilia in all Ireland.
The church was padlocked on the day of our visit, we could have looked for the keys, but the weather was miserable and we thought that it wouldn't have been a great loss if we left.

UPDATE: June 21st, 2017 - Second visit to the Callan Augustinian friary hoping that the gate was open or that somebody could address us to the keys.
Unfortunately the keys are in possession of the OPW office in Kilkenny.

The friary was founded by Edmund Butler of Pottlerath in 1461, after petitioning to Pope Pius II. But Edmund died right after he received the permission from the Pope, so the buildings were erected in 1467 by his son James.
In 1472, the friary became observant, that means that the friars adopted the strictest rules of their monastic order. The monastery was dissolved under king Henry VIII, and the church and the lands were given to the Earls of Ormond.
Today only the church survives, all the domestic building and the cloister have disappeared.
The church is a long building with a central tower and had a fine east window. The north wall has a wide Gothic doorway in the nave and fine windows both in the nave and chancel walls. At the height of the central tower there are traces of a building that once would depart to the north. At the northeast and southeast corner of the chancel there are two wonderful buttresses. The south wall of the church has a small doorway under the central tower and a window in the chancel with traces of another building once attached to this part of the church. Two nice windows are high in the wall.
In the south wall of the chancel there's the finest sedilia of all Ireland. A fine grave slab stands against the east wall, under the window.

Our previous visit was precisely 10 years ago!
The first 6 photos in this page are from that visit, the remaining 10 photos are from this visit.

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