Early Christian and Medieval Ireland

Pilgrimage Sites   Abbeys/Churches   Oratories/Tomb Shrines   Cross Slabs/Inscribed Pillars   

Holy Wells   Round Towers   Bullauns   Stone Roofed ChurchesSSheela-na-gigs

It is impossible to talk about the remains of Early Christian structures without talking about their founders and how Christianity transformed the very landscape of Ireland. Megalithic tombs, stone circles and standing stones were replaced as places of worship by wooden churches and monasteries. In fact, many pagan sites such as sacred wells were Christianised by associating them with a local saint and many standing stones were coverted into ogham stones. Although there is evidence that bullaun stones existed prior to the spread of Christianity, they are now mainly found at Christian sites.

It is commonly believed that St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland, but there is evidence that Christianity was introduced prior to St. Patrick's arrival. Some of the first Christians coming to Ireland would most likely have arrived by sea directly from Gaul or through Wales where earlier monks from Gaul set up in the fourth century. The most likely landing would have been along the south coast and Christianity then spread to the north. A saint active in this area during the early 5th century was St Declan who founded a monastery in Ardmore, County Waterford. Irish Christians were sufficiently numerous by 431 to justify Pope Celestine's appointment of St Palladius as Bishop of Ireland, a year earlier than St Patrick is believed to have arrived in Ireland.
Most of St Patrick's missionary work appears to have taken place north of a line running from Galway to Wexford and most of the churches acclaimed as founded by St Patrick are situated in this half of the country. The earliest church government would have been episcopal in nature, with bishops of fixed sees exercising jurisdiction within a diocese. By the end of the sixth century the new monasteries had ousted many of the older Patrician foundations as the important centres of religion and learning. By the eighth century Ireland became unique in western Christianity in having its most important churches ruled by a monastic heirarchy lead by abbots rather than bishops.
Although St Enda's monastery on Inishmore in the Aran Islands schooled many of the first Irish abbots, it was soon eclipsed by the monastery of St Finnian at Clonard which emphasized sacred study. So great was this school that St Finnian was known as the "teacher of the Saints of Ireland" and his students became "the twelve apostles of Ireland". Each of the apostles founded their own monasteries - Colmcille in Durrow, Derry and Iona, Ciaran in Clonmacnoise, Brendan in Clonfert, Molaise on Devenish Island, Canice at Aghaboe and Mobhi in Glasnevin, to name a few.
Pilgrimage Sites
     

Ardmore Waterford

Ballyvourney Cork

Carndonagh Donegal

Castledermot Kildare

Clonmacnoise Offaly

Fore Westmeath

Gartan Donegal

Gleanncholmcille Donegal

Glendalough Wicklow

Inishcaltra Clare

Inishkeel Donegal

Inishmurray Sligo

Kilcashel Donegal

Kilcummin Mayo

Kilmalkedar Kerry

Lemanaghan Offaly

Monaincha Tipperary

St Brigids Shrine Louth

Temple Brecán Inishmore, Galway

 

 

     
Abbeys/Priories/ Friaries
     
Augustinian  
     

Drumlane Priory Cavan

Ferns Wexford

Innisfallen Kerry

Inishmaine Mayo

Kells Priory Kilkenny

Kilmacduagh Galway

Lorrha Abbey Tipperary

Murrisk Mayo

   
Benedictine  
     

Fore Westmeath

Jerpoint (Later Cistercian) Kilkenny
     
Cistercian  
     

Abbeydorney Kerry

Abbeylara Longford

Baltinglass Abbey Wicklow

Bective Abbey Meath

Boyle Abbey Roscommon

Corcomroe Clare

Duiske Abbey Kilkenny

Dunbrody Abbey Wexford

Hore Abbey Tipperary

Inch Abbey Down

Jerpoint Kilkenny

Kilcooley Abbey Tipperary

Mellifont Abbey Louth

Tintern Abbey Wexford

 

     
Dominican  
     

Kilmallock Abbey Limerick

Lorrha Priory Tipperary

 

Roscommon Friary Roscommon

The Black Abbey Kilkenny

 

     
Franciscan  
     

Ardfert Kerry

Ballymote Sligo

Buttevant Cork

Castldermot Kildare

Creevelea Leitrim

Claregalway Galway

Quin Clare

Ross Errilly Friary Galway

Sherkin Friary Cork

Slane Abbey Meath ( Later Capuchins)

The Grey Abbey Kildare

 

     
Gaelic Monks/Nuns  
     

Ardmore Waterford

Ballyvourney Cork ( Later Franciscan)

Clonca Donegal

Clonfert Galway ( Later Augustinian)

Clones Monaghan ( Later Augustinian)

Clonmore Carlow

Dysert O'Dea Clare

Fahan Mura Donegal

Finglas Dublin

Gartan Donegal

Gleanncholmcille Donegal

Inishkeel Donegal

Kells Meath ( Later Augustinian)

Nendrum Down (Later Benedictine)

St Mullins Carlow ( Later Augustinian)

Tuamgraney Clare

 

 

     
More Abbeys/Churches  
     

Aghaviller Kilkenny

Ardagh Longford

Ardfert Kerry

     The Cathedral

     Temple Na Griffin

     Temple Na Hoe

Ardpatrick Limerick

Baldongan Dublin

Ballinakill Galway

Ballinclare Wexford

Balrothery Dublin

Ballyboher Wexford

Ballylannan Wexford

Ballylarkin Kilkenny

Bannow Wexford

Carrowntemple Sligo

Castlekeeran Meath

Churchclara Kilkenny

Church of the 7 Daughters Galway

Clonfertmulloe Laois

Clone Wexford

Clonenagh Laois

Clonmacnoise Offaly

     Temple Ciaran

     Temple Connor

     Temple Dowling/Hurpan

     Temple Finghin

     Temple Melaghlin

     The Cathedral

     The Nuns Church

Derrynane Kerry

Donaghmore Meath

Downpatrick Down

Dromiskin Louth

Drumcliff Clare

Drumcliffe Sligo

Dunnamaggan Kilkenny

Durrow Offaly

Freshford Kilkenny

Glendalough Wicklow

     St Kevin's Church

      St Mary's Church

     St Saviour's Church

     Trinity Church

Grangefertagh Kilkenny

Inishcaltra Clare

    Church of the Wounded Men

    St Brigid's Church

    St Caimin's Church

    St Mary's Church

Inishmurray

   Templemolaise

   Templenaman

   Templenatinny

Kilbroney Down

Kilcavan Wexford

Kildemock Louth

Kilfane Kilkenny

Killeavey Armagh

Killelan Kildare

Killeshin Laois

Killinaboy Clare

Killiney Kerry

Killoughternane Carlow

Killursa Church Galway

Kilmalkedar Kerry

Kilmallock Limerick

Kilmore Cavan

Kilree Kilkenny

Kilronan Abbey Roscommon

Kilrossanty Waterford

Kilrush Church Limerick

Kilteel Kildare

Kiltiernan Church Dublin

Kilwirra Church Templetown, Louth

Knockgraffon Tipperary

Knocktopher Kilkenny

Lady's Island Wexford

Lemanaghan Offaly

Liathmore Tipperary

Loughinisland (3) Down

Lusk Dublin

Maghera Down

Mayglass Wexford

Monaincha Tipperary

Mungret Church Limerick

Newtown Trim Church Meath

Old Church, Mungret Limerick

Oughaval Church Laois

Rahan Churches Offaly

Rathmichael Church Dublin

Rathmore Church Meath

Ratoo Kerry

Reask Kerry

Seskinan Knockboy, Waterford

Sheepstown Church Kilkenny

Skreen Meath

Sleaty Laois

St Begnet's Church Dublin

St Brigid's Cathedral Kildare

St Canice's Cathedral K ilkenny

St Catherine's Church Wexford

St Doulagh's Dublin

St Dubhan's Wexford

St Finian's Myshall Carlow

St Ibar's Church Wexford

St Laserian's Cathedral Carlow

St Mary's Abbey Howth Dublin

St Mary's Church Gowran, Kilkenny

St Mary's New Ross, Wexford

St Munna's Church Westmeath

St Patricks Cathedal Tipperary

St Peter's Ferns, Wexford

St Ruadhán's Church Tipperary

St Vogue's Wexford

Temple Brecan Galway

Temple Cavan Donegal

Temple Douglas Donegal

Temple Dysert Waterford

Templenaboe Carlow

Templemoling Carlow

Templetown Church Wexford

The Black Abbey Kildare

Tintern Church Wexford

Tomhaggard Church Wexford

Toureen Peacaun Tipperary

Trawbaun Church Galway

Tullaherin Kilkenny

Tully Church Dublin

Ullard Kilkenny

Wells Carlow

White Island Fermanagh

 
Oratories and Tomb Shrines
     

Banagher Derry

Bovevagh Derry

Castledermot Kildare

Cormac's Chapel Cashel, Tipperary

Gallarus Oratory Kerry

Innisfallen Kerry

Killoluaig Kerry

Killovarnogue Kerry

Labbamolaga Cork

St Brendan's Oratory Kilmalkedar

St Columb's House Kells, Meath

St Declan's Oratory Ardmore

St Erc's Tomb Slane, Meath

St Flannan's Oratory Killaloe, Clare

St Lua's Oratory Killaloe, Clare

St Mella's Cell Lemanaghan, Offaly

St Mochta's House Louth

St Molaise's House Devenish

St Tighernach's Tomb Shrine Clones

Teach Molaise Inishmurray, Sligo

Temple Cronan Clare

Templemanaghan Kerry

Templenacloonagh Lateevemore

Temple Ciarán Clonmacnoise

The Confessional Inishcealtra

The Priests House Glendalough

 

Cross Slabs/Inscribed Pillars



 

 

Ballyvourney Cork

Bobsville Meath

Caherlehillan Kerry

Carndonagh Donegal

Carrowntemple Sligo

Castledermot Kildare

Castlekeeran Meath

Cliffoney Sligo

Clonca Donegal

Clonenagh Laois

Clonfertmulloe Laois

Clonmacnoise Offaly

Doonalt Donegal

Drumirrin Donegal

Durrow Offaly

Fahan Mura Donegal

Gallarus Kerry

Gleanncholmcille Station 2 Donegal

Gleanncholmcille Station 5 Donegal

Gleanncholmcille Station 6 Donegal

Gleanncholmcille Station 7 Donegal

Gleanncholmcille Station 9 Donegal

Gleanncholmcille Station 10 Donegal

Gleanncholmcille Station 11 Donegal

Gleanncholmcille Station 12 Donegal

Gleanncholmcille Station 13 Donegal

Gleanncholmcille Station 15 Donegal

Glendalough Visitor Centre Wicklow

Inchagoill Galway

Inishkeel Donegal

Kilcummin Mayo

Killamery Kilkenny

Kilmacannon Sligo

Kilmalkedar Kerry

Kilnaruane Cork

Kilnasaggart Armagh

Knockdrum Cork

Labbamolaga Cork

Lateevemore Kerry

Lemanaghan Offaly

Reask Kerry

Scattery Island Clare

St Attracta's Well Sligo

St Ciaran's Well Offaly

St Mary's Glendalough, Wicklow

St Mary's Inishcaltra, Clare

Temple Ciarán Offaly

The Birthing Stone, Inishmurray, Sligo

     
 
Rathdown Slabs
 
     
Dalkey Dublin Killegar Wicklow Rathmichael Dublin
     
Holy/Ancient Wells
     
To view a map featuring some of Irelands Holy Wells, including all those listed below click this link Google Map
 

Connacht

Kilcummin Mayo

Ogulla Holy Well Tulsk, Roscommon

St Attracta's Well, Clogher, Sligo

St Brigid's Well Cliffoney, Sligo

St Lasair's Well Kilronan, Roscommon

St Patrick's Well Bunduff, Leitrim

Leinster

Cranavane Carlow

Doaghfeighin Fore, Westmeath

Grallagh Dublin

Lady Well Templetown, Louth

Lady's Island Well Wexford

Lady's Well Mulhuddart, Dublin

Our Lady's Well Eardownes Gt , Wexford

St Anne's Well Tomhaggard , Wexford

St Anthony's Well Killina, Offaly

St Brigid's Well Brideswell Big, Wexford

St Brigid's Well Clondalkin, Dublin

St Brigid's Well Cullion, Westmeath

St Brigid's Well Faughart, Louth

St Brigid's Well Killare, Westmeath

St Brigid's Well Tully, Kildare

St Ciaran's Well Castlekeeran, Meath

St Ciaran's Well Clonmacnoise, Offaly

St Colmcille's Durrow, Offaly

St Colmcille's Well Kells, Meath

St Colmcille's Well Oldcourt, D ublin

St Columbkille's Well Ratharney, Longford

St David's Well Ballynaslaney,, Wexford

St Doulagh's Well Dublin

St Fortchern's Well Carlow

St James' Well Louth

St James' Well Tomhaggard , Wexford

St Kevin's Well Glendalough, Wicklow

St Laserian's Well Old Leighlin, Carlow

St Manchan's Well Leamanaghan, Offaly

St Mobhi's Grange, Dublin

St Mogue's Well Ferns, Wexford

St Moling's Well Carlow

Tintern Holy Well Wexford

Tobar Eoin, Johnswell, Kilkenny

Tober Bhride Myshall, Carlow

Tullowphelim Tullow, Carlow

Well of the White Cow Tara, Meath

Munster

Kilrossanty Waterford

Lady's Well Inishcealtra, Clare

St Berrihert's Well Ardane, Tipperary

St Brendan's Well Kilmalkedar, Kerry

St Brendan's Well, Valentia, Kerry

St Coelan's Well Clare

St Declan's Well Ardmore, Waterford

St Gobnait's Well Ballyvourney, Cork

St Patrick's Well Clonmel, Tipperary

St Peacaun's Well Toureen, Tipperary

Tobairin Coumanaspig, Kerry

Tobar Eoin Kilmurry, Kerry

Tobar Sinean Scattery Island , Clare

Well of the Wether's Ardfert, Kerry

Ulster

Doon Well Donegal

Gartan Donegal

St Colmcille's Gleanncholmcille, Donegal

St Moninna's Well Armagh

St Patrick's Well Saul, Down

Struell Wells Down

Wart Well Dungiven, Derry

 

 
Round Towers
     
To view a map featuring Irelands Round Towers, including all those listed below click this link Google Map
     

Aghadoe Kerry

Aghagower Mayo

Aghaviller Kilkenny

Ardmore Waterford

Ardpatrick Limerick

Ardrahan Galway

Balla Mayo

Castledermot Kildare

Clondalkin Dublin

Clones Monaghan

Cloyne Cork

Clonmacnoise O'Rourke's Tower, Offaly

Clonmacnoise Temple Finghin, Offaly

Devenish 1 Fermanagh

Devenish 2 Fermanagh

Donaghmore Meath

Dromiskin Louth

Drumcliff Clare

Drumcliffe Sligo

Drumlane Cavan

Duleek Meath

Dungiven Derry

Dysert Aenghusa Limerick

Dysert O'Dea Clare

Faughart Louth

Ferns Wexford

Glendalough Wicklow

Grangefertagh Kilkenny

Inishcealtra Clare

Inishkeen Monaghan

Kells Meath

Kilbennan Galway

Kilcoona Galway

Kildare Kildare

Kilkenny Kilkenny

Killashee Kildare

Killinaboy Clare

Kilmacduagh Galway

Kilmallock Limerick

Kilree Kilkenny

Liathmore Tipperary

Lusk Dublin

Maghera Down

Meelick Mayo

Monasterboice Louth

Nendrum Down

Old Kilcullen Kildare

Oran Roscommon

Oughterard Kildare

Rathmichael Dublin

Rattoo Kerry

Rock of Cashel Tipperary

Roscam Galway

Roscrea Tipperary

Scattery Island Clare

St Kevin's Church Wicklow

St Mullins Carlow

Swords Dublin

Taghadoe Kildare

Timahoe Laois

Trinity Church Glendalough, Wicklow

Tullaherin Kilkenny

Turlough Mayo

     
Bullauns
 

A bullaun is a deep man made bowl-like depression found in boulders and stones. Although pre-dating Christianity, the vast majority of bullaun stones are associated with Christian sites. The rainwater that collected in many of these bowls was thought to have certain healing properties. Indeed some of the stones are known as the Wart Stone or the Eye Stone. Many of these boulders have multiple bullauns and some may contain a water-rounded pebble known as a curing or cursing stone, see Killinagh below.

 

Ardattin Carlow

Ballycanew Wexford

Ballinclare Wexford

Ballylannan Wexford

Ballynellard Wexford

Ballyvourney (3) Cork

Banagher Derry

Bannow Wexford

Bolton Hill (4) Kildare

Churchtown Wexford

Clonfertmulloe Laois

Clogher Sligo

Clonmore Carlow

Dingle Kerry

Dromagorteen Kerry

Drummin Wicklow

Feaghna Kerry

Fence Wexford

Glendalough (7) Wicklow

Inishcaltra (2) Clare

Inishfallen Kerry

Inishmurray Sligo

Kildemock Louth

Kilgobbin Dublin

Killadeas Fermanagh

Killamery (2) Kilkenny

Killina Offaly

Killinagh Cavan

Killoughternane Carlow

Killucan Westmeath

Kilmalkedar (2) Kerry

Kilnaruane Cork

Kilteel Kildare

Lemanaghan Offaly

Lemanaghan Holy Well Offaly

Lorrha (2) Tipperary

Maumanorig Kerry

Meetings Wicklow

Morrissysland (2) Wexford

Myshall Carlow

Roscam (2) Galway

Roundwood Wicklow

St Mobhi's Well Grange, Dublin

St Patrick's Well Saul, Down

St Peacaun's Cell Tipperary

St Peacaun's Well Tipperary

Templebryan Cork

Tybroughney Kilkenny

Ullard (2) Kilkenny

Wart Well Dungiven, Derry

 

     
Stone Roofed Churches
   

Cormac's Chapel Cashel, Tipperary

Kilmalkedar Kerry

St Columb's House Meath

St Lua's Oratory Clare

St Mochta's House Louth

Teach Molaise Sligo

     
Sheela-na-gigs and Exhibitionist Figures
     

Abbeylara Longford

Ballycloughduff Westmeath

Ballyvourney Cork

Boa Island Fermanagh

Cavan Cavan

Clonmacnoise Offaly

Cullahill Castle Laois

Fethard Abbey Tipperary

Fethard Walls Tipperary

Kildare Cathedral Kildare

Killinaboy Clare

 

Lavey Cavan

Liathmore Tipperary

Malahide Abbey (2) Dublin

Taghmon Westmeath

White Island Fermanagh

 

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