Quin Abbey, County Clare

I ran my hands upon the walls
Fingers soft on stone
Walked like shadows through the halls
Through the ghosts that lingered still
Like the ivy on the towers
The moss upon the path
The rooks that sang of days long gone
Crumbling memories of the past
— Claire Loader

There is something quietly enchanting about a cloister, the soft footfalls of the past still reverberating around its walls.  A predominant feature of Franciscan Friaries, so few in the West are left intact.  But Quin, she is something special.  Walking around her vast halls you cannot help but be transported, whisked into the lilting rhythm of a long lost matins, reaching out from the very stone.

Copyright © 2019 Claire Loader. All Rights Reserved.

Ballinrobe Priory, County Mayo

Come to me in the deepest night
and rouse me from my slumber,
from the shackles of my dreams
where pain and pleasure lurk.

Come wake me into daylight
to face what I have forgotten,
all the things I run from
each time I close my eyes.
— Claire Loader

If Ballinrobe Priory had a star sign, it would certainly be Gemini – the Abbey of the Two Faces.  Desolate in her winter garb, the earth damp with long forgotten grief, she comes alive then in summer, flowers blooming in alcoves, life within the stone.

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.