Kilmacduagh Monastic Settlement – Galway, Ireland - Atlas Obscura

Kilmacduagh Monastic Settlement

The ruins of a monastery that dates to the 7th century.  


Ireland is known the world over for its scenic beauty and rich history. These two facets come together when visiting the monastic site of Kilmacduagh Abbey. The ruins of this 7th-century monastery are located on the edge of the Burren, County Clare, a vast area of limestone known for its wildflowers and dolmens, and just a few miles southwest of the town of Gort, County Galway.

The name Kilmacduagh is derived from the meaning, “church of Duagh’s son.” The premises was founded by Saint Coleman MacDuagh in the 1800s. Over the centuries, it became a seat of religious power and significance. Because of this sustaining prestige and wealth, it became the target of many incursions. The English Reformation of the 16th century closed the chapter of this once-thriving religious community.

The settlement contains one of the finest accumulations of ecclesiastic structures in the entire country. Many of which were constructed between the 11th and 15th centuries. The most impressive and eye-catching is that of the round tower. Not only is it one of the most complete, but it is the tallest in Ireland at an impressive 100 feet. It does have a slight lean and the first door/window is several feet up from the ground.

Know Before You Go

Open year-round with no fee for entering. A parking lot and some informational signage are all that is provided, there are no other amenities here.

Wear sensible shoes and clothing as the terrain is uneven and exposed to the elements. A functioning graveyard is attached to the grounds, so be respectful and aware. Apparently, a key can be obtained from one of the neighboring houses to allow access to the interior of the church.

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December 8, 2022

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