Clontuskert Augustinian Friary is a medieval monastic site that dates back to the 12th century. The friary is located near Ballinasloe in Galway, in the heart of the fertile plain of Hy-Many, and is surrounded by fields and farms.

The friary was founded by Turlough O’Connor, the king of Connacht, who invited the Arroasians, a reform branch of the Augustinian canons, to establish a priory dedicated to St. Mary. The Arroasians followed a strict rule of life that combined prayer, study and pastoral work. They were also known for their artistic and architectural skills, as evidenced by the beautiful carvings and sculptures that adorn the friary.

The friary went through several phases of construction and destruction over the centuries. It was burned down in 1413 by a rival clan, but was rebuilt in the 15th century by the O’Kelly family, who became the main patrons of the house. The friary was surrendered to King Henry VIII in 1551, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, but was later restored to the prior Donat O’Kellie. It is believed that some monks remained in the friary until the 17th century, when it was finally abandoned.

Today, the friary is a National Monument and is open to the public. You can admire the remains of the church, the cloister and the domestic buildings, as well as some remarkable features such as:

– The west doorway, which has a finely carved arch with floral motifs and human heads.
– The east window, which has three lancet lights and intricate tracery.
– The tomb of John O’Kelly, who died in 1406, which has an effigy of a knight in armour and a Latin inscription.
– The sedilia, or seats for the clergy, which have carved panels depicting scenes from the life of Christ.
– The piscina, or basin for washing sacred vessels, which has a carved head of a lion.
– The cloister arcade, which has elegant arches and columns with carved capitals.

The friary is a place of tranquility and beauty, where you can immerse yourself in the history and culture of Galway. You can also enjoy the views of the countryside and the wildlife that inhabit the area.


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Clontuskert Augustinian Friary



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