Abbey of St Mary de Portu Patrum

The first monastery at Annaghdown was founded by St Brendan who is believed to have founded a convent in Annaghdown for his sister. The present Abbey was built c.1195. It is a fine example of an early fortified monastery.The ruins of the abbey are very extensive and it can take quite awhile to work out the layout. The church is very long with a pointed northern doorway, the chancel has a north and south window. The southern window has a round hood with decorated stops and now offers a wonderful view of the restored Annaghdown Castle.

To the south of the church is an open area where the cloisters once stood. This is surrounded by the large walls, pictured right. The fortified walls give it a castle like appearance. There are fragments of a romanesque chancel arch stored in a niche to the south of the cloister, see image below. The capitals feature heads with intertwining hair and the pillars are decorated with a diamond pattern. These were beautifully carved examples of romanesque decoration.

The light was awful during our visit so the carving does not show up very well on our images. Maybe it was down to the bad light but I felt a bit saddened after our visit to the ruins at Annaghdown. A bit disappointed too.


Situated: Easy. On the eastern side of Lough Corrib. From Galway City take the N84 North towards Headford. After about 12 kilometres take a left turn. (Not signposted) then 2k another left, a further 2k then take a right.

Discovery Map 45: M 2863 3795. Last visit April 2012

Longitude: 9° 4' 22" W

Latitude: 53° 23' 13" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

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