Castledermot Friary

Franciscan Friary

It is believed the Franciscan Friary in Castledermot or Thrisledermot, as it was known at that time, was founded by Walter de Riddlesford II in the early part of the 13th century. All that remains of the Friary today is an undifferentiated nave and chancel church, with a 14th century aisle and transept added to the northside. There are three side chapels on the eastern side of the transept. An unusual feature of the building is the defensive tower attached to the south side of the church. The tower was not open to the public during my visit.

The Friary was burnt by Edward Bruce in 1316. The north transept was probably added during the rebuilding. In 1540 during he dissolution of the monasteries the property was comprised of, a church, cloister, dormitory, tower, two halls, a garden, a kitchen, a walled courtyard and a cemetery. To the north of the town are the remains of a Priory, probably founded by Walter de Riddlesford I. On the eastern side of the town are the remains of an early Monastery, featuring two high crosses, a round tower and a romanesque archway.


Three chapels off the transept

Cadaver Tomb

The Black Death, the pandemic that peaked in Europe in the middle of the 14th century, sporadically returned throughout the 14th to 17th centuries, and was a constant reminder of man's mortality. In medieval Europe, Momento Mori, remember that you have to die, became common symbols of mortality. These symbols started to appear on gravestones. The most striking funerary art to appear, in Ireland, during the 15th century were the cadaver effigies, about 10 of these memorials still exist. According to the inscriptions, the Cadaver tomb at Castledermot, pictured above, is decorated with the effigies of James Tallon and Joan Skelton, between them is an eight-armed fleur-de-lys cross.

Situated: The Friary is on the west side of the R448 at the southern end of the town.

Discovery Map 55: S 7824 8482. Last visit Aug 2016.

Longitude: 6° 50' 13" W

Latitude: 52° 54' 31" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey

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