Fishing boats docked in colorful Killybegs Harbor in Co. Donegal.BY JUDY ENRIGHT
SPECIAL TO THE BIR
A new year has dawned, bringing with it the potential for many new adventures for us all – hopefully they’ll be pleasant, fun, and memorable adventures. We like to start the year by mentioning some of our favorites with the thought that readers might find them enjoyable, too, when visiting Ireland. FAVORITES
• Ireland has amazing ancient churches, friaries, and ruins where you can spend hours reading inscriptions on tombstones and admiring detailed carving, architecture, and Celtic crosses.
In Co. Offaly, the Clonmacnoise monastic settlement, founded by St. Ciaran in 548, is awe-inspiring and well worth visiting. There, on the eastern bank of the Shannon, you can see the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches (10th-13th century), two round towers, three high crosses, and the largest collection of Early Christian graveslabs in Western Europe.
In 2016, another historic site, Ballintubber Abbey in Co. Mayo, will celebrate the 800th anniversary of its founding by King Cathal O’Conor. Ballintubber is the only church in Ireland founded by an Irish king that is still in daily use. Mass has been said there every day since 1216.
Ross Errilly Friary in Co. Galway, founded in 1351, is said to be the most extensive and best preserved of all the Franciscan friaries in Ireland and, even though it’s a ruin, it is still beautiful and worth a look.
In Co. Clare, the Kilfenora Cathedral sited next to The Burren Centre is another interesting ruin. The cathedral, with five high crosses, was built around 1190 on the site of an earlier monastery, and is dedicated to St. Fachtnan. Read more