St Ruadhán's Church

St Ruadháns church is probably built on the site of the early monastery founded by Ruadhán in c.540 AD. The church was constructed from roughly coursed cyclopean masonry and has antae projecting from the east and west gables. This may be the church referred to in the Annals of Inishfallen. It records, under 1037 AD, that 'Cu Chaille, son of Cennetaig, King of Musgraige, with his son was slain in front of the stone church at Lorrha after he had been taken from the altar'. An arched doorway, featuring a head, possibly representing Walter de Burgh, may have been taken from the Augustinian Abbey and inserted into the south wall in the 12th/13th century. A pointed doorway with decoration was added below the arched one in the 15th century. The shafts of two 8th/9th century High crosses are located in the graveyard, to the west of the church.

The 12th/13th century head

From the gate

The 15th century doorway with rose motifs, vine leaves and a pelican drawing blood from its breast. In medieval bestiary a pelican is a bird who revives its dead young with the blood from its breast. It represents Christ on the cross shedding his blood for humanity.

Situated: From Portumna take the N65 east for 2.5 kilometres. turn left onto the R489 for 3.7K the turn right for Lorrha. In the town turn right then left onto St Ruan's Terrace. The church is down here on the left, 60 metres beyond the abbey.

Discovery Map 53: M 9195 0454. Last visit July 2016.

Longitude: 8° 7' 12" W

Latitude: 53° 5' 29" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

West gable

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