Irish Historic Monuments
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Limerick

ADARE AUGUSTINIAN FRIARY

Map Reference: R469465

Adare Augustinian Friary is known as the Black Abbey. It was founded in 1316 by John FitzThomas FitzGerald. The buildings were begun soon after and it is now the Church of Ireland parish church. It has a very compact cloister, which may be a partial 19th century restoration. The arcade is in three groups of three on each side. At the rear is a large 19th century mausoleum built by the Dunraven Family. The friary church is still in use. The nave has a south aisle of three bays. Beside it is a fairly plain tomb niche. There are three three-light windows in the chancel. One of them is encroached on by the tower. There is a fine five-light east window. There is a piscina with missing basins and a sedilia under the tower. There is another tomb niche in the north wall of the nave and two tomb niches in the north wall of the chancel. The very narrow square-headed window in the north wall of the chancel is possibly a lepers' squint. After the Suppression in 1539 the property was leased to John Gold and others before being granted with certain other monasteries to Sir Henry Wallop in 1595.

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ADARE CASTLE

Map Reference: R469467

Adare Castle is undergoing extensive renovation at the moment. It is now possible to see that it has a strong curtain wall with a large square gatehouse on the west side. There is a D-shaped tower, also along the west wall, and lesser gateways in the north and east. The River Maigue protects the castle along the south side. Just outside the wall in the west and northwest is a substantial ditch. Within the wall, along the south edge, are two rectangular halls. At the northwest corner, protected by an inner wall and another ditch, is a tall square keep. It stands to full height but a large section is missing. The first mention of the castle was in 1226 and it was already ruinous by 1329. It was repaired but damaged again by 1376. It was besieged by the English in 1580 and rendered harmless in 1599.

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ADARE FRANCISCAN FRIARY

Map Reference: R474467

Adare Franciscan Friary was founded by Thomas, Earl of Kildare in 1464 and most of the building was completed by the end of the century. It was dedicated to St Michael the Archangel. The friary is very badly overgrown and a large tree grows out of the middle of the cloister garth. There are good traces of the cloister. Three sides of the arcade are more or less intact. The arcade is in four groups of three in the north and east with broad divisions between. The west arcade has no divisions. At the south range a two-storey building projects into the cloister arcade. The upper storeys of all the buildings surrounding the cloister are fragmentary. The long church has a very fine tall central tower. There is a four-light east window and a three-light west window. There is a south transept with a three bay entrance and the transept has a west aisle of three bays. There is a four-light south window in the transept and a small east chapel with a two-light window. Within it are four tomb niches. There is also a tomb niche in south wall of the transept. There are three tomb niches in north wall of the nave and three more in north wall of the chancel. In the south wall are two more niches. All niches are fairly plain with finials. There is a triple sedilia in the south wall of the chancel and several two-light windows. The building running along the west side of the cloister had fireplaces at the ground and upper floor and two round-headed windows in the upper west wall set within deep recesses. The friary had an outer wall of which two gateways remain. This friary was also granted to Sir Henry Wallop after the Dissolution.

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ADARE TRINITARIAN CHURCH

Map Reference: R465462

The church of the Trinitarian monastery was founded in 1230 and dedicated to St James. It is the only known Irish monastery of the Trinitarian Canons of the Order of the Redemption of the Captives. It is now used by the local Catholic Church. The nave of the original church is now the south aisle of the present church. The present nave was built in the 19th century. The original tower is still in place and it has a very fine vault with four masks at the springing. Two of these are human and two are grotesques. After the Dissolution it was also granted to Sir Henry Wallop.

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ASHKEATON CASTLE

Map Reference: R341503

Ashkeaton Castle was founded on an island in the River Deel about 1199, probably by William de Burgo. It is not accessible at present but the remains of its tall 15th century tower can be plainly seen from a distance. It is at least five storeys high with vaults above the second and third floors. Although it stands to full height one wall is completely gone. The Banqueting Hall can also be seen although its finer details are not visible. These buildings stand within a bawn wall and a second strong wall surrounds the island.

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ASHKEATON FRIARY

Map Reference: R340507

Ashkeaton Friary was founded by Gerald, 4th Earl of Desmond, about 1400. Much of the present building dates from 1420-40. It has a long church with a north transept with two-bay access to the church. This has a west aisle of three bays. The church has a simple five-light traceried east window. In the south wall are three three-light traceried windows. One of them has some cusps in the tracery. In the south wall at the east end there are several sedilias. The first is a three-seater with barley sugar twists in its dividing columns and surrounding moulding. Above it is a raised- letter inscription dated 1646. The other sedilias are in two groups of three and are fairly plain. Also against the south wall is a fine trapezoidal coffin lid with a floreated cross. There are also two tomb niches with decorated finials but otherwise plain. There are fragments of a third niche between these two. In the opposite wall there is a similar niche. The cloister, to the south of the church, is intact. Only two of the pillars of the arcade are modern replacements and the vault of the cloister walk is present. There is an incised sundial in the middle of the north range. A spiral stairway at the SE corner leads to the upper levels but is closed off at present. There is a good carving of St Francis at the NE corner of the cloister. The friary was plundered and wrecked by Sir John Malbie in 1579. It was revived in 1627 and continued to be used by the friars as late as 1714.

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HOSPITAL CHURCH

Map Reference: R707361

The old church at Hospital was founded in 1215 by Geoffrey de Maresco. Within it are two effigy slabs. One is of a knight complete with shield. The other has a double image but it cannot be examined closely since the building is locked. There is also a trapezoidal coffin lid against the wall. It appears to have a floreated cross.

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KILMALLOCK COLLEGIATE CHURCH

To the south of the priory, near the centre of the town, is the ruin of the Collegiate Church of Saints Peter and Paul. It has three aisles, a chancel and a north transept. In the south wall is a fine 13th century doorway. The chancel has some very fine lancet windows. In the corner near the west end is a Round Tower about 17m high.

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KILMALLOCK DOMINICAN PRIORY

Across the river from the town is the ruin of the Dominican priory which was founded in 1291. The church has a south transept and the cloister garth lies to the north. There is a very fine east window. There are many small carvings throughout the building including heads and flower-buds.

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KING'S CASTLE, KILMALLOCK

Map Reference: R608279

The castle is named after King John but the present structure probably dates from the 15th century. It is a four-storey tower-house which still retains some of its mullioned windows. However, in the more recent past, probably at the end of the 18th century, many of the windows were replaced by large Gothick openings. The building is vaulted above the ground floor. The front and back walls have been removed so that the castle is pierced by a large Gothick arch. This gives it the appearance of a gatehouse. In 1645 it was used as an arsenal by the Irish under Lord Castlehaven and in 1651 it was used as a hospital by the Parliamentary forces.

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KING JOHN'S CASTLE, LIMERICK

Map Reference: R577577

The castle was started about 1200 and completed by 1202. It was repaired several times in the 13th century and changed hands several times in the 14th century. In the 17th century it surrendered three times - to the Confederate Catholics in 1641, to the Parliamentary forces under Ireton in 1651 and to the Williamite forces in 1691. It has a large gatehouse set in a five-sided curtain wall with three round corner towers. One of the sides is lapped by the waters of the Shannon. The gatehouse has two D-shaped towers. On either side are deep defensive slits and the track for a portcullis is visible. One half of the curtain wall is missing and the area within the wall is occupied by an interpretative centre.

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LOUGH GUR

Map Reference: R633406

The archaeological remains around the shore of Lough Gur include at least two stone circles, two castles, hut-sites, a wedge-tomb and several ringforts. The most accessible and spectacular is the large stone circle in Grange townland. The circle, which is about 45m diameter, is composed of large stones closely spaced or touching. It lines the inner face of an earthen bank which is about 10m wide. The entrance is on the east side and is flanked by two large boulders. A stone-lined passage goes through the bank. There is a smaller and less complete stone circle in the field beside it. Just to the south of the lake is a very fine wedge-tomb. It has a small antechamber and a large burial chamber roofed by five lintels. There is good double walling on both sides. It is about 9m long by 3.5m wide at the front. The antechamber is about 1m square. The tomb faces east.

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MONASTERANENAGH

Map Reference: R552408

This monastery was founded by Cistercians from Mellifont in 1150. The ruins consist of part of the abbey church. Above the remains of the west doorway are two round-headed windows and there are traces of three lancet windows in the east wall. The aisle arcades are in place but the aisles are missing. There are some round-headed windows above the arcades. The nave is almost completely divided from the chancel and the columns of the chancel arch have carved capitals. The chapter house has three lancet windows in the east wall.

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RATHKEALE PRIORY

Map Reference: R368417

Rathkeale Priory is a rectangular church with a vaulted room at the north. It has a simple four-light traceried east window. There was a south transept but only the arch of this remains. It is an Augustinian Priory founded in the early 13th century by Gilbert Harvey and dedicated to St Mary. It was possibly colonised by monks from Ratoo in 1210. It was suppressed in 1542 but a small colony of monks may have remained until about 1580. After the Suppression it was granted to Sir Henry Wallop.

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All photographs on this web site are by Brian T McElherron