Clonmacnoise is one of the most famous monastic sites in Ireland – an ancient place where time stands still. Located along the River Shannon near the village of Shannonbridge, Clonmacnoise was founded by Saint Ciaran in the mid-sixth century where it became a great centre of religion and learning, visited by scholars from all over the world.
Many historical manuscripts, including the 11th-century Annals of Tighernach and the 12th-century Book of the Dun Cow, were written here. His Holiness Pope John Paul visited here in 1979 during his visit to Ireland. Today, the site exists as a preserved ruin under the management of the Office of Public Works and visitors can see three high crosses, a cathedral, seven churches, and two round towers.
The beautifully preserved structures of Clonmacnoise Cathedral, Temple Doolin, Temple Hurpan and Temple Melaghlin will impress and leave those who visit Clonmacnoise with an authentic sense of the history of Ireland.
To dig deeper into the fascinating history of Clonmacnoise, visit the onsite interpretive Visitor Centre, which displays a number of cross slabs and the 9th-century Cross of the Scriptures. The Clonmacnoise graveyard surrounding the site continues to be in use, while religious services are held regularly on the site in a modern chapel.