} //-->

Temple Cronan

Oratory and Tomb shrines

One of the highlights of our trip to north Clare was our visit to one of Ireland's hidden gems, St Cronan's oratory. Whether the church was dedicated to St Conan of Tuamgraney or St Cronan of Roscrea we are not sure, but we do know a St Cronan founded a monastic site here in the early 7th century. The small medieval oratory measures just 6.65 metres x 3.91 metres and is built from large blocks of limestone, typical of the Burren. The church may be pre-12th century with the romanesque decoration added during that century.

There were further alterations made to the building in the 15th century. At some time the original entrance in the west gable was blocked up and another entrance added to the northern wall. We were thrilled with the numerous human and animal head carvings dispersed around the building.

Tomb shrine

From the northwest

There are two wonderful tomb shrines located at the site. The one on the southeast side of the church, pictured above, is said to mark the grave of St Cronan. The shrine/grave is made up from two limestone slabs leaning against each other with triangular end panels, giving the appearance of a tent. This type of tomb shrine can also be seen at Illaunloughan, Church Island and Killoluaig in Kerry and also St Erc's tomb in Slane, County Meath. The second tomb shrine lies just outside the enclosure on the east side. The shrines may have been added in the 12th century when Templecronan became a great place of pilgrimage.

From the south

Second tomb shrine

Carved head

Corbel with animal head

Situated: Templecronan is delightfully located in a small hollow in the Burren region of Clare. From Leamaneh take the R480 north. Turn right onto the L 1014 for Carron, about 1K passed Carron take a right signposted Templecronan. At the end of the road go through the gate up to the next gate, through the gate turn right and follow the walking trail across to a stile.

Discovery Map 51: M 2885 0002. Last visit April 2012.

Longitude: 9° 3' 39" W

Latitude: 53° 2' 46" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

Carved head above the doorway

Previous-----Home-----Next Page