The Nun's Church, Clonmacnoise, Co. Offaly.

Location – This church is harder to find and is about 0.3km away from the main Clonmacnoise site. Follow the pilgrim’s path out of the site and through the modern graveyard and follow the road to the church.
OS: N 014 308 (map 47)
Longitude: 7° 58' 39.86" W
Latitude: 53° 19' 41.63" N
GPS: N 01485 30885 (Accuracy: 7m)

Description and History – This is the best part of a trip to Clonmacnoise and it is something that most people miss altogether. The first few times I went there I missed it and never knew it was there. It is not well signposted or advertised at the main site. It is on the map you can get from the visitors centre but it is easily missed. The church is in the Romanesque style and had collapsed but the beautiful archway was reconstructed in the 19th century.  The building was completed in 1167, just two years before the Normans arrived in Ireland. It was built by Dearbhforgaill the wife of Tighearnan O’Rourke the King of Breifne. The church measures 13m x 8m and is constructed of limestone. The decorated doorway is made of softer sandstone and is carved in three orders with hood mouldings. The decoration largely consists of foliage and geometric designs. Surrounding the church are the wall footings of other buildings, possibly churches and out buildings. This was a nunnery with a substantial community of nuns present here. This really is a must see ruin.

Difficulty – It’s not hard to get to but does involve walking.

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The interior of the wonderful doorway.