County Offaly, Ireland

Clonmacnoise Monastic Site, County Offaly, Ireland

Clonmacnoise, situated perfectly by a big wide loop in the River Shannon, was for centuries the heart of religious life in Ireland.

The Monastery was founded by St. Ciaran around 545 AD and it thrived until 1552 when it was finally destroyed by the English, having withstood more than 35 sieges and attacks from the Vikings and Normans.

The complex contains a Cathedral, two round towers (one pictured above), no less than seven temples (small family churches) and several well preserved Celtic crosses.  Pope John Paul II said mass here during his 1979 visit.

Clonmacnoise is owned by Páirceanna agus Séadchomharthai Náisiúnta na hÉireann (or the Irish Ministry of Works) and is open to the public throughout the year.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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