galway.net logo Directory: Clonfert Cathedral


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Address: Clonfert
GPS (Lat,Lon): 53.2406,-8.0574
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Clonfert Cathedral is one of the oldest continually functioning churches in Ireland. It is now owned and operated by the Church of Ireland.

Originally established by Saint Brendan in 563AD as part of a monastic community, the oldest part of the surviving structure dates from about 1180. None of the monastic buildings survive.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the church is the Romanesque doorway. The heads (presumably of saints) which rest in niches bear a striking resemblance to ancient Celtic structures used to exhibit the severed heads of fallen enemies. This demonstrates the continuing influence of pagan Celtic religious belief long after the introduction of Christianity to Ireland by Saint Patrick at around 400AD.

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