Clontuskert, County, County Galway

The well-preserved ruins of an Augustinian priory stand about a quarter of a mile’s walk across fields at the edge of the vale of Suck. The original foundation on the site was by St Baetan in 805 and from 1140 it became a monastery of great wealth and influence. A disastrous fire destroyed it in the early 15th century and much of what is seen today was built in its place.

The carvings around the West door of the church date from 1471. In a neat row stand the angel-saint Michael holding a pair of scales on which the Christian soul will be weighed at the Gates of Heaven, while a demon crouches at his feet waiting greedily to take care of the rejects. St Catherine of Alexandria is depicted with the wheel on which she was tortured (the Catherine wheel). St John the Baptist and St Augustine of Hippo are also shown.

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