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.

Kilmaine Abbey, County Mayo

I stood trembling in the long grass
Sunshine warm on stone
Tears falling softly
To the risen earth below

Yet I smiled as I watched
Tiny petals reach like towers
For I’ve not lost you to the earth
Simply to the flowers
— Claire Loader

It's easy to drive by Kilmaine Abbey, nestled as it is between house and shop. And I did, many times, until one sunny day a spree of colour caught my eye and I stopped to go in. Situated on the site of the biggest of St Patrick's three churches, a modest abbey in her winter garb, she is simply a thing of beauty in bloom.

Copyright © 2018 Claire Loader. All Rights Reserved.

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.