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Killaloe Cathedral and Churches
Killaloe, Co. Clare
Free to visit
Rainy days
Hidden gem
Among the cathedral and churches in the village of Killaloe, County Clare, you will find an early monastery founded by St. Fachnan, a cathedral established by Donal Mór O'Brien circa 1185, and other sites boasting great ecclesiastical importance.

The village of Killaloe in County Clare features several spiritual sites, including the early monastery founded by St. Fachnan, located at the southern end of Lough Derg, and St. Flannan’s Oratory, a 12th-century Romanesque church that continues to be used today.

Killaloe Cathedral's style is mainly Gothic but there are traces of earlier styles, such as the rounded central arch of the east window, which contrasts with the typical Gothic pointed arch. Built of yellow and purple sandstone, the cathedral also contains windows and carved stones from earlier churches.

The corbels (or supporting stones) of some of the rafters in the nave are delicately carved. One, near the pulpit, has six kilted figures embracing and kissing each other, while another is carved in the shape of a horse.

Up until the 19th century, the south transept was used as the bishop's court, where pleas for marriage licenses were heard and penalties for various offences dealt out. A sinner had to complete "...a public penance in the cathedral... bare-legged and bare-headed in a white sheet and make an open confession of his crime in a prescribed form of words."

By the mid-19th century, most legal jurisdiction had passed to the civil courts.

The east window is 36ft in height and is framed within three carved stone arches. It depicts Christ surrounded by his twelve Apostles. Each holds in his hand an object with which he is traditionally associated.

On the grounds of St. Flannan’s Catholic Church, you can also visit St. Molua’s oratory. It is thought to date back to the 12th century and originally stood on Friary’s Island, but was removed after floods in 1929.

Contact details
Saint Flannan's Cathedral,Royal Parade,Killaloe,Co Clare,Republic of Ireland
Visit duration

We recommend planning to spend 1 to 2 hours here.

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