One of the most fascinating things for me about living in Ireland is the opportunity I have to visit these kind of monastic site from millions of years ago very easily.
Clonmacnoise Monastery is located in County Offaly, more or less one hour and a half drive from Dublin. We were in Athlone at the time, in the neighboring county of Westmeath, and it was less than 30 minutes drive to get there, we could’t miss the opportunity to visit this place!
There are lots of ruins of castles, abbeys and monasteries in Ireland and I just love visiting them all!
The monastery was founded in the mid 6 century by St. Ciarán. Clonmacnoise is one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland. The place is well preserved and you have to pay entrance fee: 8 euros adult and 4 euros student.
At the visitors center you will find a short movie where they will show you an overview about the history of the place. It is good if you can wait to watch it, especially if you are not taking a guided tour. Also, in the visitors center, there is an exhibition showing more about the local history.
In Clonmacnoise you will find the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches from the 10-12 century, two round towers, three high crosses and a vast number of graveslabs from Early Christian period.
I found this place just amazing and a must see! It is also located by the banks of the River Shannon, the longest river in Ireland. I felt so peaceful walking around there, the place is beautiful! My imagination always go back in time and try to imagine how was it years ago. Something I cannot explain about being able to visit a place of this magnitude nowadays as it is preserved over the centuries.
Religious events continue to take place in Clomacnoise. I don’t know if they allow visitors while these events are being held there, so I would recommend to check this out first before visiting.
Maybe you can not tell by my pictures, but the place was quite busy that day. I was inspired to photograph and I patiently waited people to get out of my frame to be able to get some shots of the place without the crowd. I had to be quick, but it was worth the wait!
If you are interested to visit a number of the Heritage Sites in Ireland, a good option it is to buy the “Heritage Card”. This card give you unlimited access for a year in all the sites, either if you are visiting or if you live in Ireland I think it is a good deal. For adults it costs 25 euros and for students/kids costs 10 euros. History enthusiasts like me, that can’t get enough of this place, this card is for us!
To read more information about this card and heritage sites to visit in Ireland, check the website: http://www.heritageireland.ie/
Do you guys like visiting ruins? What about religious sites? – if you are not into this, you should reconsider it when visiting Ireland. Irish monastic sites are beautiful and full of history!
I really liked to visit Clonmacnoise, and if you also have the opportunity to go there, don’t think twice!