Clonmacnois, Ireland: Early Monastic Settlement
About Ireland in the Middle Ages:
As the middle ages wore on and anarchy took over much of Europe, Ireland became a great storehouse of knowledge of the Christian faith. It was in Ireland that many precious books and documents were preserved and the country helped greatly to preserve the Christian faith.
Unfortunately there were numerous raids by Norsemen and Normans, as well as local chieftains, that resulted in a loss of many precious documents and artifacts throughout the country.
About Clonmacnois, Ireland:
One such Monastery is Clonmacnois, founded by Saint Ciaran in 548 AD. It developed a reputation for learning throughout the country. The last High King of Ireland, Rory O’Connor is buried here.
Ultimately Clonmacnois was victim to plundering, as mentioned above. The final blow came in 1552 when a nearby English garrison attacked the site and carried off manuscripts, altar vessels, sacred objects and just about anything that they could.
Little was left, and when attempts were made to restore the Cathedral in 1647, the troops of Oliver Cromwell arrived and destroyed what had been restored. Today the visitor can find the ruins of 8 churches as well as round towers, the ruins of a castle and other reminders of the monastic city that flourished here.
Clonmacnoise is included in many Catholic pilgrimage tours, otherwise it can be reached by car or taxi.
Address: Shannonbridge Athlone Co. Westmeath
GPS coordinates: 53° 19′ 34.5972” N, 7° 59′ 10.6584” W
Tel: +353 90 967 4195 Fax: +353 90 9674195
Photos courtesy IrishMidlandsTours.com, provider of Ireland tours