19 Churches to Explore in Munster

Checkout places to visit in Munster


Munster is one of the provinces of Ireland, in the south of Ireland. Munster has a number of attractions that are amongst the top ten sights of Ireland - from the Cliffs of Moher to the hustle and bustle of Killarney. Further top Munster attractions include the Ring of Kerry.

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Churches to Explore in Munster

Ardfert Cathedral

Ardfert Cathedral is the site of a monastery founded by St. Brendan The Navigator in the 6th century. It was the seat of the Diocese of Ardfert from 1117. It is now a heritage tourism site.Today, visitors can see three medieval churches, an ogham stone, and a number of early Christian and medieval grave slabs.

Athassel Priory

Athassel Priory is the largest medieval priory in Ireland, stretching over a 4-acre site. The priory dates back to the late 12th century. The priory was burnt twice, once in 1329 by Brian King of Thomond and again in 1581 by John Fitzgerald of Desmond. A large town had grown up around the priory but was destroyed during the two raids. The priory was finally dissolved in 1537 and the lands given to Thomas Butler, 10th Earl of Ormond, who neglected the abbey, and it subsequently fell into ruin.

Augustinian Friary

The Adare Friary, located in Adare, County Limerick, Ireland, formerly known as the "Black Abbey", is an Augustinian Friary founded in 1316 by the Earl of Kildare. It is now known as "St. Nicholas' Church of Ireland" parish church, and St Nicholas' National School. Many of the features of the friary are very well preserved, particularly the small 15th century cloister and sedilia.

Corcomroe Abbey

Corcomroe Abbey is beautifully situated on the edge of the rocky hills of the Burren. It is best known for its lonely situation, lying close to another interesting monastic settlement, a group of three small early Christian Churches which nestle in the pass of Oughtmana and which are dedicated to St. Colman. The church was constructed in the early 13th century and consists of a nave with an aisle on the south side

Ennis Friary

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

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.

Glenstal Abbey

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 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

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.

Kilcooley Abbey

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.

Monaincha Abbey

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 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.

Muckross Abbey

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 St. Mary's Church, Clonmel

Old St. Mary's Church, also known as St. Mary's Church of Ireland Church, is a medieval church in Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland. The Church's main features are a 27 ft square, 84 ft high bell tower, the eastern tower house, and ornate 16th Century east and west windows. The Tower had, at one time, a wooden spire and belfry, which has not been restored. Crenellated parapets suggest that this was a fortified structure.

St Declan's Cathedral

One of the earliest ecclesiastical sites in Ireland was founded in Ardmore by Saint Declan, a pre-Patrician Saint in the 5th century. At the site are the later remains of an ecclesiastical enclosure. Inside the enclosure are Saint Declans Oratory, the 'Cathedral' shown above, a 12th century round tower, two ogham stones and several cross slabs. The Cathedral, which consists of a nave and chancel, was built by Moelettrim O Duibh Rathra sometime during the 12th century in a number of phases.

St. Carthage's Cathedral

St. Carthage Cathedral, Lismore is a Church of Ireland cathedral in Lismore, County Waterford. It is in the ecclesiastical province of Dublin. Formerly the cathedral of the Diocese of Lismore, it is now one of six cathedrals in the United Dioceses of Cashel and Ossory. The medieval cathedral was in ruins after a fire in the 17th century.

St. Colman's Cathedral, Cobh

The Cathedral Church of St Colman, is a single-spire cathedral in Cobh, Ireland. It is a Roman Catholic cathedral and was completed in 1919. Built on Cathedral Place, it overlooks Cork harbour from a prominent position, and is dedicated to Colmán of Cloyne, patron saint of the Diocese of Cloyne. It serves as the cathedral church of the Diocese. Today, the cathedral continues to hold religious services and often hosts recitals featuring choirs from around the world.

St. Mary's Cathedral

St Mary’s is the cathedral of the Catholic Diocese of Kerry. The beautiful Gothic-style structure was designed by Augustus Pugin and dedicated to Mary in 1855. It was designed by the renowned English architect Augustus Welby Pugin, who is said to have gained inspiration from the ruins of Ardfert Cathedral "which is particularly evident in the slender triple lancets in the east and west walls.

Timoleague Friary

Timoleague Franciscan friary is located in a village on the bank of the River Argideen overlooking Courtmacsherry Bay. It was built on the site of an earlier church dedicated to St Molaga whose feast was celebrated here until the seventeenth century. The friary at Timoleague is one of the few early Franciscan friaries with substantial standing remains in Ireland. Located in a medieval village in County Cork, it stands on the banks of the Argideen River overlooking Courtmacsherry Bay.

Map of Churches to explore in Munster