St Flannan's Cathedral

St Molua, from whom the town gets its name, founded a monastery here in the 6th century. In the 12th century Donal Mor O'Brien built a romanesque church on the site. This was destroyed by Cathal Carrach of Connaught in 1185. Sometime around 1200 the present Romanesque/Gothic transition Cathedral was built and dedicated to St Flannan, an ancestor of Donal Mor. The central tower was raised in the 18th and 19th centuries when the belfry and castellations were added. During the 16th century reformation under Henry the 8th, control of the Cathedral passed from the Catholic Church to the Protestant Church.

On display inside the Cathedral, which has been in continuous use since being built, there are some wonderful stone features, including a high cross from Kilfenora, a Rune Stone and a beautifully decorated stone font, see below. In the Cathedral grounds is St Flannan's 11th century stone roofed oratory.

Pictured above from left to right are 1) the 12th century High Cross taken fron Kilfenora in 1821, 2) a rune stone which is the only example of a stone bearing runic and ogham inscriptions in Ireland. The runic inscription reads - "Thorgrim carved this cross" and the ogham, which is on the side of the stone, reads "A blessing upon Thorgrim". 3) an elaborately decorated 13th century stone font.

Romanesque doorway

Inserted into the southwest corner of the nave is a 12th century doorway richly decorated with romanesque carvings. The arch pictured above has four richly carved orders decorated in typical romanesque style , with chevrons, beads and an array of heads and animals.

At the base of the decorated doorway is a carved cross slab reportedly marking the grave of Murtagh O'Brian, King of Munster and self-declared High King of Ireland, who is believed to have died on pilgrimage to Killaloe in 1119. Another feature of the Cathedral is the 11 metre high three light east window. After the reformation the first protestant Bishop to be appointed in 1546 was Cornelius O'Dea.

Situated: Very easy, located on Royal Parade in the centre of Killaloe.

Discovery Map 57:R 7039 7288. Last visit April 2012.

Longitude: 8° 26' 21" W

Latitude: 52° 48' 22" N

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Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

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