Claregalway Franciscan Friary

Map Reference: M371334 (1371, 2334)

Claregalway Friary was founded by John de Cogan about 1250 and was richly endowed by the de Feoris or the de Bermingham family. The nave of this rectangular church has a north aisle of four bays.

Only the aisle arcade is still in place. The west wall of the church is also missing. The south wall is lit by four short lancets and one small two-light window.

There are also three plain tomb niches in this wall and a piscina with round basins. There is a north chapel which opens off the east end of the aisle. It has a three-light traceried north window and two two-light east windows. One of these is decorated on the outside.

There is also a very fine piscina. One of the basins is quatrefoil and the other is octofoil. There is also a credence table. The tall central tower has a very fine vault with a hairy mask at the centre. Some small masks at the springing of the vault.

One of these is human, the others are grotesques. The north and south walls of the chancel are each lit by six lancets and there is a very fine five light traceried east window.

This window was inserted in the 15th century and replaced lancet windows. In the north wall is a tomb niche with a decorated hood with a panel dated 1648. In the south wall is a piscina and a fragmentary triple sedilia. The 15th century tower rises for three storeys above the vault. The top is crenellated and there are two carved gargoyles on each side.

To the south of the church is the cloister garth but there are no remains of the cloister arcade. There are traces of two-storey buildings to the south and east of the cloister but only a single wall on the west side. There is a fireplace at the upper level of the east range. Also in this range is the Ryan mausoleum from 1886, last used in 1997. One of the tombstones lying in the nave depicts, among other things, a plough. The inscription is difficult to read. There are some trapezoidal coffin lids within the church. At least two of them have floreated crosses but they are very faint. After the Suppression the friary was granted to Richard de Burgo in 1570. The friars were allowed to remain in or near the buildings but were driven out in 1589 by Sir Richard Bingham who then converted the buildings into barracks.

For more photos of Claregalway Franciscan Friary click HERE

For more examples of Franciscan Friaries click on the following links

Bonamargy, Co Antrim Armagh, Co Armagh Ennis, Co Clare Quin, Co Clare Buttevant, Co Cork Timoleague, Co Cork Kilconnell, Co Galway Meelick, Co Galway Rosserrily, Co Galway Ardfert, Co Kerry Lislaughtin, Co Kerry Muckross, Co Kerry Castledermott, Co Kildare Creevelea, Co Leitrim Adare, Co Limerick Askeaton, Co Limerick Dundalk, Co Louth Moyne, Co Mayo Rosserk, Co Mayo Nenagh, Co Tipperary Roscrea, Co Tipperary

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