(active 6th century in Ireland)

Exterior view

Clonmacnois Monastery, County Offaly

The monastery of Clonmacnoise was founded in 545 by Saint Ciaran (Kieran) at the point where the major Irish east-west land route crossed the River Shannon.

Saint Ciaran had been educated by Saint Finnian at Clonard. Leaving Clonard, he went to be with St. Enda on the Aran Islands and then to Iniscathay (Scattery Island) to be with St. Senan. He founded his first church at Inis Aingin (Hare Island) on Lough Ree, leaving it three years later to found another church before founding Clonmacnoise with the help of King Diarmuid. A year later, St. Ciaran died of the plague. He was in his early 30s at the time of his death. He was succeeded by Oenna, one of the men he converted at Inis Aingin.

From the 7th to the 12th century, Clonmacnois was one of the premier monastic schools in Ireland. Students by the thousands came to study there, not only from Ireland, but also from England and France. Among the many ruins at Clonmacnoise, there are a number of churches (called Temples), including Temple Ciaran, the reputed burial site of the saint. Also a number of high crosses may be seen. The originals are in the Museum, while replicas are outside on the grounds. Also in the museum are grave slabs from the 7th to the 12th century.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.