Download as PDF

Feature Sets (3)


A ruined ivy-covered church, 19.2m x 6.7m (Westropp), now used as graveyard. The W part of the N wall is built of large limestone blocks, irregularly coursed but carefully fitted, providing evidence of an earlier structure. There are yellow sandstone quoins at the E angles, a blocked doorway and sedilia at the E end of the N wall, and a late medieval S door with plain jambs and a chamfered arch. The W wall has collapsed. 13thc. features include a double E window, with aumbry and niche to S. All 13thc. material is of coarse red sandstone with quartz inclusions, the remaining fabric is limestone.


'Kilfinity' recorded in taxation of 1302.


Exterior Features


E gable

Large, tall window with two slender pointed lights. The exterior moulding is of one hollow-chamfered order surmounted by a double-arched label formed of a roll moulding ending in a beast head with a protruding tongue in profile on the S. The N label stop is damaged and hard to decipher but may have formed the foliate tail of the beast (?) The S window and bottom of the N window are obscured by ivy. The S window is blocked with rubble and the wall is badly cracked below the window. The keystone of the N window has slipped or been badly repaired.


Of two coursed orders, with three-quarter angle shafts on jambs.

First order, N: corbel with a bust with upraised L arm, no R arm, prominent ears, bulging eyes, and flattish nose. A round capital rests on its head composed of palmettes on tall stems with large berries above. Round impost with profile of hollow, cavetto, roll, continuing to outer order, the end lost in ivy.

First order, centre: attached half-shaft with bobbin halfway and two-thirds up, the lower one worn and obscured by rubble, the upper with cable at bottom, double roll at centre, roll at top. Above the necking is a round capital with three beast heads. These have pointed ears, prominent brows and snouts, and sit above a collar of rounded leaves. A lily extends onto the S splay, lost on N. Round impost.

First order, S: probably similar to N but too worn to read, and broken away where head would have been.

Arch: Keeled angle roll.

Second order: Plain, triangular pseudo-bases, filleted attached three-quarter shafts. N and S capitals above necking, with twined stems and leaves, badly damaged. In the arch a filleted roll then a hollow. Label obscured by ivy.

S wall, at E end

The remains of window sill and jambs, framed by a roll moulding within a hollow chamfer and splayed on the interior.

Exterior Decoration

Corbel tables, corbels

E gable

See III.2.(i) above.



Aumbries, two niches in E wall to S side of E window

Upper niche: gabled and framed by angle roll between hollows with foliage finial (very damaged). Lower niche: rectangular with recessed square order and chamfered outer order.

Sedilia, E end of N wall

Two arches with hollow followed by a small chamfer. Jambs with plain chamfer.


Westropp (Pl. XI 5) illustrates the exterior of the S window with a continuous frame of three roll mouldings on arch, jambs and sill . Leask refers to this window in his discussion of the 'School of the West', but does not discuss the E window, which also belongs to this style. (Both lights of the E window were filled with rubble at the time of the 1992 visit, but in 2003 the upper part of the N light had been opened up). A number of comparisons can be made with the sculpture at Drumacoo (Galway); the central shaft with bobbins is similar to those on the jambs of the doorway at Drumacoo, and the capital with a row of beast heads can be compared to a capital on the R jamb at Drumacoo, which has a similar row of heads, but without long snouts. The sculpture at Kilfinaghta is however cruder and less refined, perhaps due to the use of coarse sandstone rather than fine limestone. Capitals with human heads are common in Irish Romanesque, and are also found in other examples of the 'School of the West', such as Corcomroe and Abbeyknockmoy. On the basis of style, a date in the 1220's or 1230's seems likely.


  • M.M Killanin and M.V. Duignan, Shell Guide to Ireland. Dublin, 1962, 2nd ed. 1967, 422.

  • H.G. Leask, Irish Churches and Monastic Buildings, Vol. II. Dundalk 1966, 66.

  • T.J. Westropp, 'The Churches of County Clare, and the origin of the ecclesiastical divisions in that county.' PRIA, 22, 1900, 151-2, no. 97.

E facade.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
R 47 67 
now: Clare
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Church (ruin)  
Report authors
Tessa Garton