Clonmacnoise is an ancient monastic site near Shannonbridge, County Offaly, and a top visitor attraction in Ireland. A walk amongst the peaceful stone ruins of this famous place will conjure images of the saints and scholars of Ireland’s renowned golden age of learning.
Founded by Saint Ciaran in the mid-6th century, it became a great centre of religion and learning, visited by scholars from all over the world. Many historical manuscripts, including the 11th-century Annals of Tighernach and the 12th-century Book of the Dun Cow, were written here.
Today, the site exists as a preserved ruin under the management of the Office of Public Works and visitors can see three high crosses, a cathedral, seven churches, and two round towers. The beautifully preserved structures of Clonmacnoise Cathedral, Temple Doolin, Temple Hurpan and Temple Melaghlin will impress and leave those who visit Clonmacnoise with an authentic sense of the history of Ireland.
To dig deeper into the fascinating history of Clonmacnoise, visit the onsite interpretive Visitor Centre, which displays a number of cross slabs and the 9th-century Cross of the Scriptures. The Clonmacnoise graveyard surrounding the site continues to be in use, while religious services are held regularly on the site in a modern chapel.