Clonfert, County Galway

A village in the vale of the River Suck, Clonfert became known for the monastery founded on this site by Brendan the Navigator in AD 563. Clonfert monastery was a famous centre of learning, but was destroyed five times between its foundation and the 12th century, by Vikings and by fire. However, much of the cathedral that was subsequently built here around 1200 has survived, largely because Clonfert is one of lreland’s few great medieval churches to remain in use for Protestant services.

Above the exceptionally beautiful round-arched west doorway is a triangular pediment filled with carved figures, animals and ornament. It is a lovely relic of Irish Romanesque decorative architecture.

Clonfert is a real hidden gem that is worth a visit on your tours of Ireland.