Aghadoe Church

On a hill overlooking Lough Leane, the town of Killarney, and the misty mountains beyond stands this beautiful ruined cathedral. Located on the former site of a monastery founded by St Finian the Leper in the 6th /7th century, it is believed to have once been an important centre of learning. The earliest church was most likely built of timber yet the Annals indicate that a stone church existed on the site by 1027. The current ruin is believed to have been finished in 1158 but possibly incorporated part of the old stone building in its northwest section. The western doorway is in the Romanesque style, with a three-order arch decorated with geometric patterns on the second and third order while the first is plain. The doorway was crudely rebuilt in the 18th or 19th Century.

From the South

The eastern wall of the cathedral features two 13th century round-headed recessed window lights with carved head and flower stones at the interior intersection. The north wall is at full height but the south wall is only about chest-high. Mortared onto the top of a portion of the south wall are an ogham stone and a sandstone block with an 18th century carving of the crucifixion with a female figure passing a chalice to Christ on the cross (see photo below). What touched me as we were admiring this gorgeous cathedral was that some community members were actively maintaining this beautiful site and others were strolling through the graveyard enjoying the gorgeous views, much like the monks must have done so many years ago. Nearby is the stump of a round tower.

Decorated Capitals

Romanesque Doorway

Aghadoe from the Irish Acha dá Eo "the Field of the two yews"

Situated: From Killarney take the N70 west. After 1 kilometre take a right turn at Ballydowny Drive for 2 k. The Church is on your right at the T-Junction.

Discovery Map78 : V 9340 9280. Last visit July 2011.

Longitude: 9° 33' 18" W

Latitude:  52° 4' 37" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

Crucifixion Scene

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