Romanesque Church

I am delighted to have taken the time to visit the remains of the Romanesque church at Clone, County Wexford. Built upon an earlier monastic site founded by St. Aedan, the present ruins of the parish church of Clone consist of a western gable and part of the south wall to roof level. Curiously, it was noted in journals of the 1880’s that part of the church was “pulled down by the Contractors employed by the Board of Guardians to build a wall round it”. Fortunately the western doorway jambs with decorative chevron carvings remain undisturbed.

Above this doorway are several projecting stone carvings. Included are 5 human heads and a greyhound or slender dog in relief, and a stone with dogtooth decoration. The grotesque head on the furthest south side of the doorway still remains, while the corresponding head from the north side was removed to St. Mogue’s Well at Ferns. These heads were described in the “History of Wexford” as forming an arch over the doorway above a tympanum, with semicircular ornamented moulding. The later two elements have since disappeared and the heads are now arranged horizontally. Also present at the site is a large bullaun stone situated to the left of the doorway. A romanesque window in the south wall of St Peter's Church in Ferns may have been taken from this church.

In 2011 the sundial, pictured below, was moved to Tintern Abbey until further notice. On a visit to Tintern Abbey in April in 2015. I saw the sundial and two cross slabs lying next to a stairway. I recognised them as the ones from Clone church. On return visit to the abbey in 2016 these antiquities had been removed.









Sundial and cross slab 1

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

St. Aedan (aka Edan, Aidan, Mogue, Maedoc, Maedhogs) was born in Co. Cavan to a tribal chieftan c 550 AD. He was a student of St. Finnian at Clonard and St David at Kilmuine in Wales. He was ordained in Pembrokeshire Wales before returning to Ireland in 580. He built his first church in Wexford on land given to him by a local chief. St Aeden founded churches in Wexford at Clone and Clongeen, as well as Ferns which was made a Diocese by the King of Leinster with St Aeden as first bishop. In all, Aedan founded thirty churches and at least six monasteries throughout Ireland and Wales. He is also associated with Drumlane monastery in Cavan. A plaque on the wall at Ferns Cathedral indicates that he died on 31st January 632 AD and his remains lie beneath the church.

Situated: From N11 in Ferns , turn left onto Station Road, Then right again, Drive 1.3 kilometres and take the 2nd right onto Clone Road. The church is 800 metres down here on your left.

Discovery Map 69: T 0135 4737 . Last visit Apr 2010.

Longitude: 6° 30' 18" W

Latitude: 52° 34' 6" N

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