A long rectangular church, 18.06 m x 7.39 m, built of rough blocks of granite with squared quoins. The gabled W and E walls remain to their full height of more than 9 m, and the N wall to its full height of c.5.5 m. The S wall is destroyed. At the W end part of the S wall has been rebuilt and a modern cross-wall blocks off the W end of the nave. Corbels along the nave walls would have supported an upper chamber, lit by a window in the W gable. 12thc. features include a flat-headed W doorway and two round-headed E windows with exterior labels supported by columns.
The monastery was founded by St Finian of Clonard in the early 6thc. The death of an abbot is recorded in 1017 and of an erenagh in 1050 (AFM). The building was in use as a Church of Ireland church until 1716/17.
Flat-headed, of three orders, with a broad inner order and narrower outer orders. Granite.
|external h. of surround||2.66 m|
|external w. of surround||2.45 m|
|h. of opening||1.91 m|
|w. of opening||0.82 m|
Flat-headed, with a narrow angle roll.
Round-headed, with plain arch and jambs. About half-way up the inner face of the jambs are holes for bars to lock the door.
Plain on the face, with a narrow angle roll. There are a series of bosses on the soffit of the lintel and the inner faces of the jambs (badly damaged on jambs). Traces of a groove survive on the outer face of the jambs and the lintel adjacent to the third order.
Large roll on lintel and jambs.
E end of N wall. Round-headed, with plain exterior mouldings in two orders and a plain round-headed interior splay.
Plain square mouldings form a broad frame around arch, jambs and sill. The inner order is formed by a broad rebate and is carved from the same stone as the surrounding frame. The lower stone of the N jamb is damaged.
A projecting arch is supported by half-columns with block capitals. The bases are in the form of inverted beast heads, angled slightly inwards. The arch is very weathered, with two voussoirs missing at the top left. It has traces of lateral chevron on the face and soffit.
Similar to the N window. The upper stone of the N jamb is damaged.
A projecting arch supported by half-columns with block capitals, as on the N window. The bases are formed of broad square blocks. The arch is very weathered, with traces of lateral chevron on the face and soffit, as on the N window.
Tall chamfered base (truncated pyramid), with a hole in the top. The stone projects into the wall.
Square niche under N side of N window
Niche at a lower level near S end of E wall.
Near NW corner of church. Granite. Circular cross head with short projecting arms. The surfaces are well finished but undecorated. The top arm has a projection on its top surface. The narrow faces have three vertical ridges. The W face of the shaft has a slightly recessed central panel. The base is in the form of a low truncated pyramid. A large stone basin is set at the foot of the cross on the E side.
|d. of base||0.85 m|
|h. of base||0.48 m|
|h. of head||1.24 m|
|h. of shaft||1.49 m|
|w. of base||1.02 m|
A. B. Graves, ‘The Damhlaig of Achadhaball’, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 16, 1883-4, 72-85.
‘The Church at Aghowle’, Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, 18, 1912, 75-76.
A. Gwynn and R. N. Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses, Ireland, London, 1970, 28.
F. Henry Irish Art in the Romanesque Period, London, 1970, 184.
E. Grogan and A. Kilfeather, Archaeological Inventory of County Wicklow, Dublin, 1997,115.
H. G. Leask, Irish Churches and Monastic Buildings, I, Dundalk, 1955, 84-5.