From the North West

Killeshin

Romanesque Church

Situated in the Barrow Valley, the 12th century Killeshin church has one of the most beautifully carved romanesque doorways in Ireland. Killeshin is from Cill Uisean meaning church of Uisean, who was an abbot here at Killeshin monastery. The monastery was founded in the late 5th early 6th century and is associated with Saint Diarmait and Saint Comgán. The doorway is one of a small number with a triangular hood over the entrance. It was our first visit to Killeshin and we were in awe of the beautiful rich carvings around the doorway. There are four orders and each of the capitals bear human heads with intertwined hair, see images below.

Amongst the low relief motifs are some wonderful zoomorphic designs and scandinavian influenced knotwork. On the north side just above the capitals is an inscription which is said to refer to Diarmait, King of Leinster, who invited the Normans to Ireland around this time. The east end of the church was added during the 15th century. We stayed quite a while here admiring the ornate carvings. The Barrow valley is a superb place for people interested is Ireland's Early Christian history. Dotted along the valley are many famous monastic sites featuring high crosses. These include Castledermot, Moone, Ullard, Graiguenamanagh and last but not least St Mullins. We strongly recommend a visit to Killeshin Church. If you drive up the hill passed the church there are magnificent views of the Carlow countryside.

15th Century Eastern End.

Capital

Capitals

Font to West of Doorway

Part of Inscription

Situated: From Carlow take the R431 west to Killeshin. Then turn left on to the Springhill Road. Take the next right the church is about 300 metres up this road on your right.

 

Google Map

Discovery Map 61: S 672 778. Last visit March 2011.

Longitude: 7° 0' 5"  W

Latitude: 52° 50' 51" N

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson

Keystone

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