Clonmacnoise Monastic Site
An ancient place where time stands still
The name of Offaly’s most renowned heritage site Clonmacnoise comes from the Irish Cluain Mhic Nóis meaning “meadow of the sons of Nós”. This stunning site was founded back in 545AD by Ciaran (later a Saint). The monastery flourished for 600 years as a centre of learning and religious instruction as well as providing much of Ireland’s finest Celtic art and illuminated manuscripts. Alongside the ruined churches and round towers are three ancient high crosses. The original sandstone crosses are now in the Visitor Centre to save them from the elements, with exact replicas on the outdoor site. But you don’t have to be a history buff to simply enjoy the peace and tranquility of Clonmacnoise, standing as it has done for centuries past, on the banks of the majestic Shannon.
No visit to Offaly would be complete without a visit to this most special of destinations – even Pope John Paul II stopped by when he visited Ireland back in 1979.