Rathfran Dominican Friary

Map Reference: G189328 (1189, 3328)

The friary was founded by a de Burgh or a MacJordan in 1274. It was known as the Priory of the Holy Cross. Other possible founders may have been a de Exeter (Dexter) either Stephen or Sir Richard. The 13th-century church is a long rectangular structure with a small crucifixion panel over the west door and the remains of a fine triple lancet east window.

In 1438 the friary was without a refectory, bell-tower and bell, while other buildings were becoming ruinous. In 1458 it was reported that the friary was impoverished and reduced by wars and other disasters.

An indulgence was granted to those visiting and giving alms, and about this time some of the lancet windows in the south wall were built up and a separate aisle was added. The nave was partially rebuilt in the 15th century.

To the north of the church there were originally two cloisters but only the foundations remain. The living quarters to the north of the church were probably built in the 16th century. Inside the church there are several good trapezoidal coffin lids.

After the Dissolution the friary was leased to Thomas Dexter in 1577. Sir Richard Bingham burned the friary in 1590 but friars remained in the vicinity until the 18th century.


For details of other Dominican Friaries click on the links below

Glanworth, Co Cork Newtownards, Co Down Athenry, Co Galway Kilmallock, Co Limerick Carlingford, Co Louth Burrishoole, Co Mayo Strade, Co Mayo Cloonshanville, Co Roscommon Roscommon, Co Roscommon Tulsk, Co Roscommon Ballindoon, Co Sligo Sligo, Co Sligo Cashel, Co Tipperary Lorrha, Co Tipperary

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