Clonmacnoise Monastery, County Offaly.

Name of walk Clonmacnoise Monastery, County Offaly.
Date of walk 2015-08-26

Clonmacnoise is a medieval monastery in a remote spot by the River Shannon. It was founded by St. Ciaran in 544 AD, and lays at a crossroads of medieval routes linking all parts of Ireland. Known for its scholarship and piety, it thrived from the 7th until the 12th century. Many kings are buried here. There is a Visitor Centre and museum.

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Arriving at the gates of Clonmacnoise. The statue is said to represent Aedh, son of Colcon, Chief of Oriel. Aedh was the first pilgrim to go to Clonmacnoise. He collapsed and died on arrival. He is probably thinking the same as you: "No, not another bloody monastery!"

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We have a look around the Visitor Centre. The original Cross of the Scriptures in the museum. A replica is in the grounds.

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The Cathedral, Temple Doolin and Temple Hurpan on the right. Far right is the South Cross.

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The Round Tower (O'Rourke's Tower) had the top blasted off it by lightning in 1135, but was used for another 400 years after.

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The Cathedral was built in AD 909. The Cross of the Scriptures has panels depicting the Crucifixion, the Last Judgement, the arrest of Jesus and Christ in the tomb.

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Looking out to the River Shannon.

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Temple Connor on the left and behind that the Pope's shelter.

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Temple Finghin dates from 1160 AD.

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The Pope's Shelter was where Pope John Paul ll conducted Mass on his 1979 visit.

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The Pope's chair. Not very comfortable, but I bet he got a cushion!

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The Whispering Door to the cathedral. Above the door are carvings of saints Francis, Patrick and Dominic. The acoustics of the doorway are such that even a whisper is carried inside the building.

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Inside.

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View out.

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The Pilgrims Path that leads from the Nun's Church to the Temple of St. Ciaran.

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Temple Ciaran, the burial place of St. Ciaran, the monastery's founder.

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View inside.

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Looking through Temple Doolin to Temple Hurpan.

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And again.

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In Temple Hurpan.

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View out to the River Shannon

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The South Cross. We went back to the Visitor Centre and watched a short film about the site just before it closed.

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Outside the Monastery is the ruins of Clonmacnoise Castle. Built in the 13th century.

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We stay the night in Athlone, Westmeath. View across the Shannon.

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The Catholic Church of Saints Peter and Paul at night. It is a striking ecclesiastical and architectural Baroque landmark that many come to see. Built in a completely different style from that generally adopted in Ireland, the church opened on June 29, 1937

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In the morning we took a walk around the town. St. Mary's Church of Ireland. The new church was built in 1827. All that is left of the old church is the separate bell tower built in 1622. It has two bells.

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Looking over the bridge to Athlone Castle and the church.

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Inside the church of St. Peter and St. Paul. It has six fine stained-glass windows from the famed Harry Clarke Studios in Dublin.

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Modern stained glass contains colours such as purple, turquoise, orange, lime and pink which are not seen in old stained glass. I much prefer the new stuff!

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St. Peter

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St. Paul

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St. Sean? Just kidding.....We watched the Man. United game here last night.....I'm using the 'Royal We' here, Brendan just looked on in disgust! He hates football. Sean's Bar is Ireland's Oldest Pub. It even had sawdust on the floor!

Clonmacnoise was very interesting. Athlone was pretty okay too! We are off to Glendalough next. Walks, lakes and………yes, a monastery! 🙂

Jo.

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