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Ecclesiastical Sites

in County Kerry.


Church History.

Before the reformation, almost the whole of Kerry was part of the Diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe, with the cathedral at Ardfert. The parish of Kilcaskan was part of the Diocese of Cloyne, the town land of Killmurrily was in the Diocese of Limerick.

Ardfert Cathedral was destroyed in the 1641 rebellion, the Diocese was combined with Limerick in 1663. A number of new churches were built at the beginning of 19th Century. When the Church of Ireland was disestablished in 1871, all the unused places of worship and burial grounds were handed over to the local authorities. After the creation of the Irish Free State,The Protestant population declined further and a number of churches have been deconsecrated, and parishes combined. The diocese now contains only 15 churches.

Tourist Information
Ashe Memorial Hall
Denny Street
Co Kerry
Tel +353 (0)66 712 1288
E Mail
Web Site

The last Catholic Bishop of Ardfert was ejected from the Cathedral by English forces in 1579. The church went underground, as many other in country did. Eventually, the episcopate was restored to the renamed Diocese of Kerry. The parish structure was established by combining old parishes, new churches built, and the Cathedral and Chapter reestablished at Killarney.



Ardfert Friary.

(Height of the grave.)

Co Kerry
E Mail
Web Site

This Franciscan Friary was founded about 1253 by Thomas fitz Maurice lord of Kerry. The nave and choir of the church with a large number of lancet windows would indicate a date of the thirteenth century. The tower and the west wing of the church are well preserved and probably date from the fifteenth century.




Lislaughtin Friary.

(Ring fort of St Lachtin.)

Co Kerry
Tel +353
E Mail
Web Site

John O'Connor of Kerry founded this Franciscan Friary in 1478. The remains which consist of choir, nave and south wing, and the scanty remains of claustral buildings to the north, are in a badly ruined state. The few remaining windows are decorated with some fine tracery.




St Mary's Cathedral.

This cruciform cathedral built in the early English style was consecrated in 1855. The architect was Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. In the 1970's the plaster work was removed from the interior brick work and replaced with stone, giving the cathedral an air of austerity.



Muckross Friary.

(Pig Peninsula, or pig wood..)

Co Kerry
Tel +353
E Mail
Web Site

Muckross Franciscan Friary was founded in the fifteenth century by Donal McCarthy. The south chapel, nave , choir and tower are almost intact. The windows are ornamented with switch line tracery. North of the church is a well preserved cloister. The dormitory, kitchen and refractory are well fenestrated, between these is a massive fireplace.




Aghadoe Church.

(Field of the two yew trees.)

This church was probably built in the twelfth century, it has Romanesque carvings on the west door from this period, the eastern part of the church appears to date from a century later. There is a restored round tower on the site, it is about 6 Meters (20 ft) high. Southwest of the church is the ruins of a thirteenth round castle surrounded by a wall and moat. Splendid views of Lough lean are to be had from this site.



Killagha Abbey.

This Augustinian Abbey was founded in 1216 by Geoffrey de Marisco, it consists of a nave and chancel church with a beautifully decorated east window, added in the fifteenth century.



Gallarus Oratory.

This is a well preserved example of an early Christian oratory, it may date from the seventh or eight century possibly later. It is rectangular measuring 3 by 5 Meters (10 by 15 ft0 internally with walls about 1 Meter (3 ft) thick corbelled upwards forming a vault. The east gable is a round headed window. The doorway in the west side has inward sloping jambs.