Abbeyknockmoy Abbey, County Galway

A seat for kings, now for crows
A place for god, now for toes
To tread softly around the quiet stones
And wonder at the weight of time.
— Claire Loader

A dominating feature in the quiet village of Abbeyknockmoy, County Galway, this sprawling Cistercian abbey hides a number of beautiful stone carvings and one of the last remaining medieval frescoes in Ireland. Depicting the 15th century poem 'Three Living Three Dead', you cannot help but feel it almost echo around the empty walls as the crows watch and wait ... "We have been as you are, you will be as we are. Wealth, honor and power are of no value at the hour of your death."

Copyright © 2018 Claire Loader. All Rights Reserved.

Clonfert Cathedral, County Galway

They say we are barbarians,
the harp our only grace,
yet I dare all those who see her,
to say no god dwells in this place.
— Claire Loader

Nothing can really prepare you for the wonder that awaits at Clonfert Cathedral.  Peeking through the gates of this now quiet ecclesiastical site, the eyes take a while to adjust - like stepping out of a dark room into sunlight - but my, when they do.  One of the finest examples of Hyberno-Romanesque architecture in Ireland, the door of Clonfert is simply spellbinding.  Had it been built before Brendan the Navigator was planning his adventures from that very spot, he would indeed have been hard pressed to leave it.

Copyright © 2018 Claire Loader. All Rights Reserved.

Clontuskert Priory, County Galway

Ten years of indulgences, as I hand over my weighted purse, my transgressions lifted into stone. And the grand east window watches on and smiles, that through our sin, her glory shines.
— Claire Loader

If sass was ever to be used to describe an abbey, then Clontuskert simply abounds.  Filled to the brim with beautiful carvings and surprises, there are few that can top her many treasures.  Burnt down in the early 15th Century, the abbey was rebuilt upon the granting of indulgences – 10 years for all those who would help fund her repair.  It’s hard to not imagine then, gazing through the intricate west doorway towards the grand east window, just what sins were washed away to bring to life such beauty.

Copyright © 2017 Claire Loader. All Rights Reserved.