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78 Churches to explore in Ireland

Ireland

A country in the north-western Europe. Ireland, or Republic of Ireland shares its only border with Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. It is surrounded by the ocean in all it's other sides. About 40% of the countries 5 million population lives in the greater city area of Dublin.

Dunbrody Abbey Visitor Centre
Dunbrody Abbey Visitor CentreDunbrody, Campile, Co. Wexford, Ireland

Dunbrody Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery in County Wexford, Ireland. The cross-shaped church was built in the 13th century, and the tower was added in the 15th century. With a length of 59m the church is one of the longest in Ireland. The visitor centre is run by the current Marquess of Donegall and has one of only two full sized hedge mazes in Ireland.

Ennis Friary
Ennis FriaryLower Abbey St, Lifford, Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland

Ennis Franciscan friary was built on an island at a point where the river Fergus divides. This island is now incorporated into the streetscape of the modern town but remnants of the medieval settlement are evident. Among the remains, visitors can view various 15th and 16th century sculptures, the figure of St. Francis displaying the stigmata, an image of Ecce Home, the McMahon tomb and more. It is a National Monument of Ireland.

Gallarus Oratory
Gallarus OratoryCaherdorgan South, Gallarus, Co. Kerry, Ireland

A majestic ruin of a crude stone church believed to have been built between the 6th and 9th centuries, and is still in remarkably unchanged condition.The local tradition prevalent at the time of Charles Smith attributed it to one Griffith More, being a funerary chapel built by him or his family at their burial place. This 17-foot tall oratory has a single-room structure, consisting of a rounded triangular shape with a doorway on one end and a small window built into the other end.

Glasmore Abbey
Glasmore AbbeyMooretown, Swords, Co. Dublin, Ireland

Glasmore Abbey is a ruins in Ireland, situated northeast of Killeek, close to Glasmoe Abbey. An iconic attraction in this area and there are so many options for leisure activities too.

Glendalough Cathedral
Glendalough CathedralDerrybawn, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

Glendalough Cathedral is one of Ireland’s earliest Christian monasteries. Its seven church ruins are found in the stunning Glendalough Valley, part of Wicklow Mountains National Park. Exploring the monastery and any of the Glendalough Walks is a great day trip from Dublin.

Glenstal Abbey
Glenstal AbbeyGarranbane, Glenstal Abbey, Co. Limerick, Ireland

Glenstal Abbey is a Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of the Annunciation located in Murroe, County Limerick. It is dedicated to Saint Joseph and Saint Columba. The abbey is located in and beside Glenstal Castle, a Normanesque castle built by the Barrington family. The picturesque grounds include lakes, forests and an old walled, terraced garden which features a "bible garden".

Holy Trinity Abbey Church
Holy Trinity Abbey ChurchHoly Trinity Abbey Church, Main St, Blackabbey, Adare, Co. Limerick, Ireland

Holy Trinity Abbey Church is now the Roman Catholic parish church in the centre of the picturesque nineteenth-century estate village of Adare. The foundation date of Trinitarian order at Adare is unknown. The church underwent considerable restoration in the nineteenth century which incorporated remains of the medieval church including the nave, chancel and tower.

Holycross Abbey
Holycross AbbeyHolycross Abbey, Holycross, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, Ireland

This is a Cistercian monastery in Holycross near Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland, situated on the River Suir. It takes its name from a relic of the True Cross or Holy Rood. Today this working parish church is a peaceful landmark and a place for quiet contemplation and historical discovery. As well as inspecting the relic of the cross, you can marvel at the building’s ornate stonework.

Inch Abbey
Inch AbbeyInch Abbey Rd, Downpatrick BT30 9AT, UK

A ruined Cistercian monastery on the outskirts of Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland. It was founded by Anglo-Norman John de Courcy in the twelfth century at the site of a previous monastery which had operated from the 9th until earlier in the 12th century. De Courcy established the monastery as penance for his destruction of Erenagh Abbey in 1177.

Jerpoint Abbey
Jerpoint AbbeyJockeyhall, Jerpoint Abbey, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland

Jerpoint Abbey is one of the best examples of a medieval Cistercian Abbey in Ireland, which was founded in the 12th century. The architectural styles within the church, constructed in the late twelfth century, reflect the transition from Romanesque to Gothic architecture. There is a Visitor Centre with an exhibition. It has been declared a national monument and has been in the care of the Office of Public Works since 1880.

Jumping Church
Jumping ChurchMillockstown, Co. Louth, Ireland

The Kildemock Jumping Church ruin is a popular attraction and is more famously known as the 'Jumping Church'. The west gable wall of the church has jumped inward to a few feet from its foundations. This is believed to have happened in February 1715 during a storm. However, according to legend, the west gable of the building jumped two feet inside the wall of the original foundation to exclude an excommunicated church member who had been buried in the church.

Kilcooley Abbey
Kilcooley AbbeyKilcoolyabbey, Kilcooley Abbey, Co. Tipperary, Ireland

Kilcooley Abbey is a national heritage site that nobody outside the parish knows much about. It is located near the village of Gortnahoe. The ruins, situated on a lovely expanse of land on the Kilcooley Estate, date back to 1182, when Donal Mor O’Brien gave the property to the Cistercians.

Kilmacduagh Abbey
Kilmacduagh AbbeyKilmacduagh, Co. Galway, Ireland

Kilmacduagh Abbey is a 7th century Irish monastery located near Gort, County Galway. Half in ruins, the building has an exceptional charm, worthy of the greatest remains in Ireland. It was founded by Saint Colman, son of Duagh in the 7th century, on land given him by his cousin King Guaire Aidne mac Colmáin of Connacht. This site was of such importance in medieval times that it became the centre of a new diocese, or Bishop's seat, the Diocese of Kilmacduagh, in the 12th century.

Knock Shrine
Knock ShrineDrum, Knock, Co. Mayo, F12 Y226, Ireland

Knock Shrine, in County Mayo, is an international place of prayer and pilgrimage dating back to August 1879, when fifteen people from the village witnessed an apparition. It is a Roman Catholic pilgrimage site and national shrine in the village of Knock, County Mayo, Ireland, where locals claimed to have seen an apparition in 1879 of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saint John the Evangelist, angels, and Jesus Christ.

Monaincha Abbey
Monaincha AbbeyMonaincha, Gurteen, Co. Tipperary, Ireland

Monaincha Church is a 12th-century church in Roscrea, County Tipperary, Ireland. Founded in the eighth century, it soon became the most famous pilgrimage site in Munster. In fact, it was described in the 10th century as the 31st wonder of the world. Highlights include a fine Romanesque doorway and a unique high cross, made from fragments of other crosses, with carved horsemen, the crucifiction and Celtic designs forming a decorative collage.

Moor Abbey
Moor AbbeyMandeville Park, Moorabbey, Co. Tipperary, Ireland

Moor Abbey lies in the Glen of Aherlow in the shadow of the Galtee Mountains. Founded in 1471, the friary was suppressed in 1540 but the new owner, the Earl of Desmond left the friars in peace until the friary was burnt in 1569 and 1570. The church consists of a nave and chancel, separated by a tall bell-tower. In the chancel is a double piscina for washing liturgical vessels.

Mount St Joseph Abbey
Mount St Joseph AbbeyMountheaton, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, E53 HR62, Ireland

This is an abbey of the Trappist branch of the Cistercians located in County Offaly, near Roscrea, County Tipperary in Ireland. The abbey was founded in 1878 by a group of 32 monks from Mount Melleray Abbey, County Waterford. The church was opened for worship in 1883, on 600 acres in Mount Heaton, Roscrea, and a Boarding school - Cistercian College, Roscrea - was founded in 1905. The first superior was Dom Athanasius O'Donovan.

Moyne Abbey
Moyne AbbeyAbbeylands, Co. Mayo, Ireland

Moyne Abbey, close to Crosspatrick, lies on the west side of Killala Bay, near Ballina. It is one of most impressive ecclesiastical ruins in Mayo and a National Monument. The friary was built in the late Irish Gothic style and has extensive ruins, consisting of a church and domestic buildings situated around a central cloister. Its west doorway is a seventeenth century insertion, and its east window displays fine switchline tracery.

Muckross Abbey
Muckross AbbeyCarrigafreaghane, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Muckross Abbey was founded for the Observatine Franciscans about 1448 by Daniel McCarthy Mor. The present well-preserved ruins include a church with a wide, square tower and fine windows, and a vaulted cloister with an arcade of arches around a square courtyard. In the middle of the courtyard grows an ancient yew tree, said traditionally to be as old as the Abbey. Today the abbey is largely roofless although, apart from this, is generally quite well preserved.

Old Kilcoole Church
Old Kilcoole ChurchLott Ln, Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

Old Kilcoole Church is believed to have been constructed in the 12th century and was dedicated to St Mary. The Church consisted of a Nave and a Chancel and although in a ruinous state there is still quite an extensive amount of it remaining. The chancel probably once had a step-pitched stone roof, with a small attic roof over the chancel. The nave has a square baptismal font, a cross slab and a small round-headed window in the south wall

Map of Churches to explore in Ireland