Early in the seventh century St. Gobban founded a monastery at Old Leighlin which once accommodated 1,500 monks and . The site was the location of an important church synod in 630 A.D. which influenced the system for establishing the date of Easter each year, a formula still used to this day.
St. Laserian’s Cathedral replaced the 7th century monastery. The cathedral embraces a fascinating and often violent history of Viking raids, murder and religious turbulence. Its thirteenth century nave and chancel and its fifteenth century tower and Lady Chapel remain largely unchanged. Also to be seen are the unique four-bay sedilia, the twelfth and thirteenth century fonts and the splendid Catherine O’Brien East Window. Nearby is the very ancient 7th century Cross of Saint Laserian and his holy well, which continues to be venerated and attracts offerings some 14th centuries after his death.
Today, St. Laserian’s remains an unspoilt and mystical place. It is open to the public daily from 1st May to 30th September from 10.00am to 4.00pm. There is no admission charge -but voluntary contributions towards the upkeep of the Cathedral are very much appreciated.
Discover more about Carlow’s early Christian past. Drive St Laserian’s Trail, part of County Carlow’s Trail of the Saints.