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Museums and Attractions

Museums and Attractions

Kilfane Church

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Kilfane
Thomastown
Kilkenny
Republic of Ireland

The 13th century church of Kilfane, now lies in ruins. But its remains are well worth exploring. It has an adjoining castellated presbytery and bell tower and there are traces of the original consecration crosses to be seen. Three original doorways in the north and south walls are headed by ogee stones. Remains of an altar, piscina, book rest and multiple recesses all grace the interior walls. A 13th century sedilia near the altar is believed to have come from an earlier church at the site and still has traces of medieval paint.

The most remarkable feature is the effigy of Cantwell Fada (long man) from mid 13th to early 14th century. This effigy of a Norman knight in full armour carved from a single slab of limestone stands against the North wall. The Cantwell Fada is over two metres in height and is the tallest such effigy in Ireland or Britain. The Knight has his legs crossed (possibly signifying that he had been on the Crusades), and wears a fine suit of chain mail, spurs and is accompanied by a sword and shield bearing the arms of the Cantwell family, it is believed that the figure represents Thomas de Cantwell who died in 1320.

The Cantwells were Lords of Kilfane and adjoining areas from shortly after the arrival of the Normans to the confiscations following the Confederation.

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