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36 Churches to explore in Leinster


Leinster is one of the provinces of Ireland, situated in the southeast and east of Ireland. The ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial purposes. In later centuries, local government legislation has prompted further sub-division of the historic counties.

Aghaboe Abbey
Aghaboe AbbeyFriarsland, Aghaboe, Co. Laois, Ireland

The Abbey of Aghaboe is one of the most important of the abbeys and priories in County Laois. It was founded in the kingdom of Osraige by St. Canice in the 6th century. The abbey grew into a major centre of learning, commerce and agriculture. Among the monks from the abbey was St. Virgilius, a noted geometer and astronomer who was abbot before he left Ireland and built the cathedral at Salzburg in Austria in the 8th century.

Baltinglass Abbey
Baltinglass Abbeyeast, Baltinglass East, Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

The Abbey is situated on the east bank of the River Slaney on the North side of Baltinglass town.The Abbey was founded in 1148 by Dermot McMurrogh. Dermot McMurrogh brought Cistercian monks from Mellifont. It was established for the Cistercians which was called “The Valley of Salvation”.The six beautiful Gothic arches on either side of the nave, supported by alternate round and square pillars, are a noteworthy feature of the ruins.

Bective Abbey
Bective AbbeyR161, Ballina, Co. Meath, Ireland

Bective Abbey was founded in 1147 for the Cistercian Order by Murchad O'Maeil- Sheachlainn, King of Meath. It was Ireland's second Cistercian Abbey. The remains now visible at the Abbey date mainly from the 13th to 15th centuries. They include the church, chapter house and cloister. It is a protected structure and recorded on the register of National monuments of Ireland.

Castledermot Abbey
Castledermot AbbeyMullarney, Castledermot, Co. Kildare, Ireland

Castledermot Abbey is a ruined Franciscan friary in Castledermot, County Kildare, in the Republic of Ireland. It was founded in about the year 1300. A previous monastery was founded on the same site by Diarmait, a son of Áed Róin, King of Ulster, in the ninth century AD. The solid stonework is well preserved, seeming as secure and strong as the day it was first constructed.

Castledermot Round Tower and St. James' Church
Castledermot Round Tower and St. James' ChurchMullarney, Abbeyview, Co. Kildare, Ireland

This ancient church at Castledermot was formerly known as Díseart Diarmada, meaning Dermot’s hermitage. The monastery was raided by the Vikings in the 9th century, but continued its existence at least until the 12th century. All that is left today is a splendidly reconstructed Romanesque doorway, which came from a church that has since vanished.

Cathedral Church of St Canice & Round Tower
Cathedral Church of St Canice & Round TowerCoach Rd, Gardens, Kilkenny, Ireland

This is an impressive structure that dates back to 1285. Explore the cathedral and climb to the top of the magnificent 30 metre high round tower. The present building dates from the 13th century and is the second longest cathedral in Ireland. The cathedral contains some 16th-century monuments. The architectural style of the cathedral is Early Gothic and is built of limestone.

Cathedral of Christ the King
Cathedral of Christ the KingBishop's Gate St, Commons, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, N91 EF82, Ireland

A majestic Roman Catholic cathedral located in Mullingar.The cathedral, which boasts a beautiful modernised Renaissance style, opened in 1936 and is the seat of the Bishop of Meath.The cathedral is both the cathedral church of the diocese of Meath and the principal centre of worship in the catholic parish of Mullingar, including parts of counties Meath and Westmeath.

Cathedral of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary
Cathedral of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin MaryCollege St, Graigue, Carlow, Ireland

The Cathedral of the Assumption is both the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin and the parish church for the cathedral parish. Located in Carlow town, the cathedral was dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1833. It is known for its beautifully detailed 151 ft spire which is one of the highest points in the town.

Church of Saints Peter & Paul
Church of Saints Peter & PaulBarrack St, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland

The Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Athlone is a Roman Catholic parish church situated in the town of Athlone, County Westmeath. The church was constructed between 1932–39, and stands on the banks of the River Shannon.It is notable for its stained glass windows, produced in the Harry Clarke workshop by Richard King.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Old Mellifont Abbey
Old Mellifont AbbeyMellifont, Tullyallen Village, Co. Louth, Ireland

This is the first Cistercian monastery in Ireland. St Malachy of Armagh created it in 1142 with the help of a small number of monks sent by St Bernard from Clairvaux. It has several extraordinary architectural features, the foremost of which is the two-storey octagonal lavabo. Today, the ruined abbey is a National monument of Ireland and accessible to the public.

Saint Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral
Saint Mary's Roman Catholic CathedralJames's St, Gardens, Kilkenny, Ireland

St Mary's Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh. The cathedral has a cruciform plan and its style is described as ‘Early English Gothic’. The design is believed to have been based on Gloucester Cathedral in Gloucester, England. It is situated on the highest point in Kilkenny City and is a significant local landmark.

Selskar Abbey
Selskar AbbeyTower Ct, Ferrybank South, Wexford, Co. Wexford, Ireland

Selskar Abbey is a 12th-century structure that replaced a pre-Christian temple dedicated to Odin. The complex, which is part of the Westgate Heritage Tower, was the location where the first Anglo-Irish treaty was signed. This ecclesiastical site would have overlooked the River Slaney at the time, as the land past Redmond Square was not reclaimed until later years.

Slane Abbey
Slane AbbeySlane, Co. Meath, Ireland

Slane Abbey is the ruins on the Hill of Slane, Ireland where Saint Patrick infamously lit his bonfire during the pagan festival of Ostara, directly opposite the Hill of Tara. The current ruins include 1512 CE reconstructions of the monastic Abbey.

Map of Churches to explore in Leinster