Churches & Holy Places

Religion has a central place in almost every aspect of Irish history, so it’s no surprise that the country has hundreds of historic churches, monasteries and priories, ranging from the huge and impressive to the tiny and isolated. Less obvious signs of religious devotion are ubiquitous too – ancient holy wells, the many statues and grottoes you’ll see along roadsides, symbols of the beliefs of ordinary people in their everyday lives. That the importance of many of these places predate the arrival of Christianity by hundreds or thousands of years makes them even more interesting.

Tintern Abbey

After three centuries as a Cisterian monestery Tintern Abbey underwent a renovation in the 1560s, going on to be the home of the Colclough family for …

Jerpoint Abbey

Jerpoint Abbey was founded in the 1160s by Cistercians, a contemplative order of monks which originated in France, on land granted by the King of …

Bridgetown Priory

A little off the beaten track but worth a detour, Bridgetown Priory was established in the early 13th century by the Augustinians, and was one of the …

Roadside Shrines and Grottoes

You can't travel far in Ireland without coming across statues by the side of the road in Ireland.

St Canice’s Cathedral

The city of Kilkenny takes its name from this Cathedral, which was built during the early 13th century on the site of an earlier monastic settlement.

St. Nicholas of Myra

Local lore has it that Christopher Columbus prayed in this church, located in Galway city centre, before leaving on the voyage that took him to America.

Holy Wells

Though believed by many Irish Catholics to be associated with saints these wells are actually remnants of pre-Christian Ireland where they are part of …

Galway Cathedral

This modern cathedral, completed in 1965, is to say the least eclectic in design, mixing Romanesque, Gothic and Moorish influences in a way that, …

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Lough Derg

For generations of Irish people this has been a place to retreat to, for prayer, fasting and pilgrimage.

Glendalough

Glendalough in Co Wicklow with its famous round tower was one of the most important Christian monastic settlements in Europe.

Skellig Michael

Skellig Micheal is a World heritage site, site of an ancient Christian monastery and an important wild bird sanctuary.

Knock Shrine

Knock is famed as the scene of an apparition of the Virgin Mary, St Joseph and St John the Evangelist and draws large numbers to prayer and pilgrimage.

Scattery Island

Now uninhabited, Scattery was lived in from the time St Senen established a monastery there in 534 until the last Islanders left in 1978.

Clonmacnoise

Once a vast ecclesiastical city, the monastic settlements of Clonmacnoise were among the most important in Europe, and left us a rich heritage of …

Ennis Friary

Home to Franciscan Monks for almost 800 years, the town of Ennis in Ireland grew up around Ennis Friary which was once home to over 1000 monks and …