Killeshin Church, Co. Laois.

Location – Just off the R430 about 3km West of Carlow town
OS: S 673 778 (map 61)
Longitude: 7° 0' 2.6" W
Latitude: 52° 50' 49.68" N
GPS: S 67318 77817 (Accuracy: 5m)
See map at the bottom of the page.

Description and History – This place is absolutely beautiful and you really could spend hours here looking at the wonderfully carved Romanesque doorway. This place really has to be seen to be believed as even the photos do not do it justice. The doorway is really fantastic and far out does most Romanesque carvings in Ireland. Yet it is not well known at all. A church was founded on the site by St. Dermot in the 6th century but he is no longer the venerated saint here. St Comhdan is commemorated here on the 27th February. In 1041 the site was plundered and the church was burned in 1077. All that remains of the subsequent 12th century building are the gable ends and some of the N wall. The church was approximately 28m in length. The ornate doorway has four orders with human heads on the capitals with intertwined hair. The arch of the doorway has a large triangular hood is decorated with animal and floral patterns. There are two inscriptions on the doorway. On the N side of the doorway an inscription reads ‘a prayer for Diarmait, King of Leinster’. Diarmuid invited the Normans to Ireland to help him reclaim his kingdom and the consequences of his actions can still be felt today. This church therefore dates do a period just before the Normans seized control and this makes this church historically significant. I do not know what the other inscription says. A round tower,which has been unfortunately destroyed, dates to this same period. Parts of the E wall are later in date. A late medieval font sits by the doorway. It is undecorated.This really is a fantastic site and a must for any fan of Romanesque art and architecture of which I certainly am.

Difficulty – Easy to get to and easy to park at.

For more ecclesiastical sites, click here.
For more sites in Co. Laois, click here.

As you can see, every surface of the doorway is carved.

The undecorated portion of stone was put in during restoration to replace a now missing stone.

You can see the inscription here on the central panal.

More of the inscription.

The underside of the arch.

A human face on the capital.

Another face on the capital.

The face of the saint?

The font by the doorway.

Late medieval window.

Beautiful little Romanesque window.

 The inside of the door is much less exciting.

The church from the rear.

View The Standing Stone in a larger map