Clonmacnoise, County Offaly

A preserved ruin along the Shannon River set against green and rolling hills, Clonmacnoise offers a glimpse into the religious and cultural history of the monasteries in Ireland. Founded in 546 CE by Saint Ciarán, the monastery was a center of learning and trade for over 600 years until it began to decline around the 12th century due to a diminishing population. Visit many of the ruined and partially ruined buildings on the site, including temple Finghín and McCarthy's tower, cross of the scriptures, and the cathedral, where the last High King of Ireland is buried. Many kings from Meath, Tara, and Connacht were buried at this site. Explore the visitor center for a comprehensive history of the site. Use our County Offaly trip builder app to add Clonmacnoise and other attractions to your County Offaly vacation plans.
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Clonmacnoise Reviews
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  • August 16, 2017
    This fabulous monastery ruin is well worth going out of your way for. It is not far from Shannon River Bridge which is also worth the trip. The monastery is a large community of mostly ruins that disp...  more »
  • August 16, 2017
    Founded on a marshy relief (in which flows the River Shannon and the intersection with roads) in 548 ad by Saint Ciarin (son of a craftsman) and preserves the remains is a place of pilgrimage because includes the ruins of several churches from the 10th to the 17th century, the age of the round tower, a castle, the three stone crosses and tombstones (early Christian period). Over time as Clonmacnoise also a cluster of houses in addition to the monastery, was often looted and destroyed by the Vikings and the Normans, began to decline in the 13th century, then in 1552 the English troops destroyed the site, now a national monument and has only ruins, in the visitor center (which has a bar for drinks) you see the show audiovisual history and explanation of gravestones and crosses the originals (the cross of the Scriptures : year's 900 a.d. a single piece of sandstone of 4 meters with carved crucifixion, the last judgment and Christ in the Tomb, while the bottom is engraved a clergyman and a warrior holding a pole are assumed to be the Abbot Colman and King Flann who erected this cross and the Cathedral. The Southern Cross has Celtic ornaments with a bas relief of the crucifixion. The Northern Cross estimated 800 a.d. has only the axis and base with engravings of human and animal figures and abstract signs. Various tombstones are carved to represent crosses of various shapes and bear inscriptions ... ... Or (for OROIT) DO ' X ': a prayer for ' X '. Unfortunately the site is explained because they're visible only the ruins ... Dowling's temple and Church of mc. Laffey, the Malaghlin Temple, the Temple of Ciaran and Cathedral, Franchino_110901 Temple, the Temple of Conor, the round tower, the Church of the nuns and the Castle. Unfortunately there are few testimonials and many ruins to interpret ... ... it should be a good guide that will make you reimmedesimare in the story of the times ... or watch the audiovisual Museum path. (There are no Palapas, toilets outside but inside the site, while the point for shopping for CDs, DVDs, books, etc ... it is outside the site where Park transportation.
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  • August 15, 2017
    This is a very nice site, well appointed and friendly. However, the visit is short. I am not convinced of the quality-price ratio.
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  • May 26, 2017
    This place is spiritual and interesting. The very tall Celtic crosses are especially neat to experience. It was crowded when I visited and that was a drawback for me.
  • August 24, 2016
    Interesting place. Deep history and a lot of rebirths to the land. Still used to this day for church goers. An active church is here. If you take one of the shortish tours, full of information, you will learn about that. You even learn about the pope's helicopter pad. Purpose built for a pope to make one journey here. Nice place. Very rarely do you get to just walk around a place with so much history. You can touch almost everything. No rope or glass stopping you. Much more interesting that way. Adds a little something you don't get from a museum for example. The freedom to walk around makes it more like an art gallery than a museum.
  • June 28, 2017
    Such amazing place to visit with great history.
  • April 28, 2017
    Very informative, full of history, good video on the place in the visitor center too.
  • January 5, 2017
    Interesting historical site, great views of the river Shannon. Very cold spot on a winters day. Well worth a trip.

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Where to stay in County Offaly

While many visitors come to see the alluring monastic city of Clonmacnoise, travelers to County Offaly should consider spending time in some of its overlooked towns, including Tullamore and Birr, because Clonmacnoise does not offer a lot of places to stay. Spend the night at a traditional bed and breakfast in the county's biggest town, Tullamore, or head to a hotel or guesthouse in Birr for a chance to experience authentic Irish nightlife. As with many small towns in Ireland, staying in the center of town is your best bet.
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16 days in Ireland, United Kingdom & Amsterdam BY A USER FROM SWITZERLAND July, culture, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in County Offaly BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in County Offaly BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in County Offaly BY A USER FROM IRELAND September, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: September, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 25 days in Ireland BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM September, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in County Offaly BY A USER FROM IRELAND November, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 17 days in Limavady & Ireland BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 42 days in Ireland BY A USER FROM CYPRUS July, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in County Offaly BY A USER FROM IRELAND November, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in County Offaly & Dublin BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 2 days in County Offaly BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in County Offaly BY A USER FROM IRELAND July, kids, outdoors, popular PREFERENCES: July, kids, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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