Church and Crosses

I expected to find this site quite easily since it is located on a small rise near to the road. I was so wrong. After driving passed the site twice I finally spotted the metal gate that leads to this ancient monastic site. This important site was formerly the residence of the Bishop of Leinster and the church is associated with St Fiacc. Very little remains from the early foundation, just two granite crosses, although parts of the medieval building may come from the earlier church. As you approach the enclosure you can see the tallest cross standing in front of the west gable of the church. The cross, pictured below right, is 2.8 metres tall. It is made from a single piece of granite and features very distinctive cusps where the arms meet the shaft. The second cross is situated near the south doorway of the medieval church. It is 1.45 metres in height. It is a solid ringed cross and it too made from granite. It is decorated with an incised double lined ring on the west face. The decoration is slowly fading away. Inside the church to the west of the doorway is the large granite font pictured at the bottom of this page.

The 14.25 metre long medieval church was built from limestone blocks and probably incorporates some features, such as the granite jambs, from the earlier church. The highlight for me was viewing the tall west cross. There was a holy well about 50 metres to the north of the church but no visible trace remains. A really nice site, but my visit was spoilt by the constant sound of dogs barking in the bungalows nearby.

Situated: From the bridge on Bridge Street in Carlow, take the first turn north (Maryborough St) on the west side of the river. The monastic site is 2.5 kilometres up here in a field on your right. Very easy to miss. .

Discovery Map 61: S 7126 7908. Last visit May 2014.

Longitude: 6° 56' 31" W

Latitude: 52° 51' 29" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

Granite font

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