Heritage sites
Claregalway Friary, near Galway City, Co. Galway
On the N17 road from Galway to Tuam just outside the northern side of the town of Claregalway next to the River Clare are the ruins of an impressive Franciscan Friary. The Friary was founded by John de Cogan in 1290.

The Friary is now ruined and what survives is a nave and chancel church and part of the monastic cloister. At a later period a northern aisle was added to the church and the tower and north transept were added in the fifteenth century. Like the other Irish monasteries Claregalway was suppresed during the reformation in the sixteenth century and it's lands granted to Richard de Burgh. The site is a National Monument in the ownership of the Irish State.

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GPS coordinates 53.35091,-8.943129

Further reading

Harold Leask 1960. Irish Churches and Monastic Buildings, Vol. II, 94 and 130.


A Co. Roscommon Ringfort from the air.

During the early Medieval period, from the seventh to tenth centuries, many farmsteads were enclosed by circular to oval earthen or earth and stone banks, sometimes with palisades, and ditches or stone walls and causewayed entrances. The enclosures range from 20m – 50m internally. The farmsteads themselves consisted of a circular house often with a number of smaller structures. Some ringforts have sub-surface chambers and galleries with secret entrances and exits known as souterrains. Souterrains functioned to safeguard members of the household and stores perishable and valuable items. Ringforts served to protect the households of better-off farmers from livestock and violence as well as displaying the status of the occupants. More than 40,000 examples have been recorded, making them the most prevalent surviving field monument in Ireland. Ringforts are also known locally as fort, dun, rath, lios, cashel, caher and fairy fort.

Further reading
Stout, M. 2000. The Irish Ringfort. Dublin.

Archer's Garage, Dublin City

Archer's Garage, Dublin. Photo by Kolleykibber

In the eastern part of Dublin City, south of the river, and a few minutes walk from the east gate of Trinity College is the famous Art Deco Archer's Garage. Richard Archer established his early Ford dealership on Knockmaroon Hill in Dublin in 1907. In 1949 he unveiled his new premises on the corner of Fenian St. and Sandwith St.
The Royal Canal

The Royal Canal in Dublin. Image by Infomatique.

The Royal canal extends from Spencer Dock in Dublin 145 Km through 46 locks to Cloondara, Co. Longford. The Canal was started in 1790 and completed in stages before the final completion in 1817. It was constructed by the Chartered Royal Canal Company at a total cost of £1,421,954 paid for by private subscribers and the Irish Parliament. The Royal Canal Company was dissolved in 1813 and the work was completed by the Directors General of Inland Navigation. The New Royal Canal Company took over the management in 1818. The Canal was sold to the Midland Great Western Railway Company in 1845. Ownership passed to the Great Southern Railway in 1938 and Coras lompair Eireann in 1944. The canal was closed to navigation in 1961 and passed to the Office of Public Works in 1978. The canal was fully re-opened in 2010.

Ballybeg Priory, near Buttevant, Co. Cork
When travelling south from Buttevant on the main Limerick to Cork road (N20) you pass, to the east of the road, the remains of the Medieval Priory of Ballybeg.

A view of one of the the towers at Ballybeg Priory.

In 1229 Philip de Barry, nephew of William FitzStephen, who had been granted the cantreds of Olethan, afterwards, Muskerry Donegan and Killede by his uncle, founded Ballybeg Priory for the canons regular of St. Augustine dedicated to St. Thomas. There was once an equestrian statue of Philip de Barry in the church.

The Priory remained in use for just over 300 years before it was dissolved in 1541. An inquisition at the time found that the Priory had demesne lands of 80 acres and the lands of Ballybeg, 120 acres, were occupied by Thomas Pyndregast. The ruins of the Priory consist of a church which was built in the thirteenth century which has a tower that was added in the fifteenth century, cloister and claustral range. In the later Medieval period the Priory was fortified and there are two towers that date from this period. To the south-east of the church is one of the best-presereved dove-cots or Columbarium in Ireland. The site is a National Monument in the ownership of the Irish State.

A view of the well preserved dove-cot at Ballybeg Priory.

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GPS coordinates 52.217441,-8.666067

Further reading
White. N.B. 1943. Extents of Irish Monastic Possessions 1540-41. Dublin.

iPhone app for Clare heritage

Learn more about the iPhone app for Co. Clare heritage. click here

“Rian na Manach (Pathway of the Monks) – A Guided Tour of Ecclesiastical Treasures in Co. Clare” was originally launched in early 2007 following a comprehensive audit of more than 80 Early Christian, Medieval and Celtic ecclesiastical buildings. Many of the buildings included in the book are supported by text and photographs, whilst others are included only as mapped reference points. Apart from the provision of text and photographs this app provides the user with an interactive mapping facility. This provides site locations, in realtime, with route planning and site distances which the visitor will find beneficial when visiting or planning to visit any of these trails. An alternative mapping facility has been provided within the app which provides certain functionality in areas where the mobile network coverage is inadequate. “The app features 33 church heritage sites across four trails throughout County Clare, which are supported by text and photographs. These sites highlight the historical background to Clare’s rich ecclesiastical heritage. The trails offer a rich variety of interest to all visitors. Churches new and old have their fascination and the sites illustrate the richness of their architectural features and a fine tradition of stonework.”

Wedge Tombs

Wedge Tomb from Glantane, Co. Cork

Wedge Tombs are the most common type of megalithic tomb known in Ireland with more than 500 known examples mainly from the north, west and south-west of the country. These tombs generally face the west and are characterised as having a straight facade, a trapezoidal shaped chamber, highest at the front, with an external walling that forms a u-shaped or straight rear all covered by round to oval cairns. Both cremation and unburnt human remains were deposited in the Wedge tombs although cremation was more common. The remains were often, though not always, accompanied by Beaker pottery and flint and chert tools.

Schulting et al (2008) argue on the basis of new radiocarbon dates and a review of the other dates that Wedge Tombs came into use during the period 2540-2300 cal BC. Most of the Beaker megalithic burials are in the north of the country with the exception of Lough Gur, Co. Limerick.

Further reading
Schulting, R., Sheridan, A., Clarke C., and Ramsey C.B. 2008. Largantea and the dating of Irish Wedge Tombs, JIA XVII, 1017.


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