Kilmacduagh Tower, Gort

#2 of 6 in Things to do in Gort
Architectural Building · Hidden Gem · Ruin
Kilmacduagh Monastery is a ruined abbey near the town of Gort in County Galway, Ireland. It was the birthplace of the Diocese of Kilmacduagh. It was reportedly founded by Saint Colman, son of Duagh in the 7th century, on land given him by his cousin King Guaire Aidne mac Colmáin of Connacht.
Kilmacduagh Monastery is located in a small village of the same name, about 5 km from the town of Gort.
The name of the place translates as "church of Duagh's son". It was reportedly the 7th century Saint Colman, son of Duagh who established a monastery here on land given to him by his cousin King Guaire Aidne mac Colmáin of Connacht, who had a fortified dwelling near what is today Dunguaire Castle.
As with most dates from this period, the year in which the monastery was founded is somewhat uncertain, but apparently the early 7th century is deemed the most likely.
Colman was abbot/bishop at the monastery until his death. Of his successors, only one appears in the annals by name, one Indrect (died 814), before the arrival of the English.
This site was of such importance in medieval times that it became the centre of a new diocese, or Bishop's seat, the Diocese of Kilmacduagh, in the 12th century.
The early monastery was victim of multiple raids and finally ruined by William de Burgh in the early 13th century. To replace it, the local lord Owen O'Heyne (died 1253) founded the abbey of St. Mary de Petra as house for the Augustinian canons. The abbey is also attributed to Bishop Maurice Ileyan (died 1283) but the architectural evidence, according to Harold Leask, allows only the later added east range of the abbey to be associated with bishop Maurice. During the reformation this was granted to the Earl of Clanricarde.
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  • We stumbled on this when we took a wrong turn and it was one of the highlights of our trip to Galway. It is off the beaten track but well worth a visit. There is ample parking and all is free. There.....  more »
  • Just three miles west of the busy market town of Gort, in County Galway, the ruined medieval abbey complex of Kilmacduagh is breath-takingly beautiful. The church ruins and the slightly leaning round....  more »

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