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.

Kilconnell Friary, County Galway

In life you were my light,
in death you are my flame,
that burns the corners bright,
until we meet again.
— Claire Loader

Storm clouds were building the first time I took the arching path up to Kilconnell Friary, and ever since it has held a certain magic – the clouds roiling in my memory as her carvings found a place in my soul.  One tomb in particular, a work of stunning tracery just inside the West door, the lines like fire curling up the walls, is easily the most beautiful thing I have laid eyes on in Ireland.

Copyright © 2017 Claire Loader. All Rights Reserved.

Claregalway Friary, County Galway

Sunlight ran incandescent over the water to illuminate the leaves lapping at its banks. She stood there, listless, hungry, watching them sway like skirts, shifting greens with the flowing current, until her eyes slowly lifted towards the abbey. The buildings once bustling, once warm, now stood deserted and quiet. And as she studied the tower, the windows slowly crumbling, she sighed. If only it was that they could eat stone.
— Claire Loader

Stuck so often in traffic on the N17, it never bothers me once we get into Claregalway - stopped beside such a beauty, I could stare at the abbey forever.  An imposing yet delicate silhouette, she sits against an ever-changing sky, her huge trace window catching the evening rays, as the sun filters into the chancel and sets the stone alig

Copyright © 2017 Claire Loader. All Rights Reserved.