St Cronan, Inchicronan

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Feature Sets (2)


A long narrow church, 20.12m x 5.03m (Westropp), with no separation of nave and chancel. The walls at the W end of the church stand approx. 2 m high; the E end with its gable survives to full height. A sacristy (on N side of chancel) and S transept were added in the 15thc., as were a domicile or conventual buildings at the W end of the nave on the S side. The S doorway to the nave retains jambs only, which seem to be late medieval. Romanesque sculpture is found in the E gable window.


The early monastic site is said to have been founded by St Cronan of Tuamgraney, possibly in the 6thc. The church was granted to the Augustinian Canons of Clare Abbey by Domnall Mor mac Toirrdelbaig Ua Briain in 1189 (Gwynn and Gleeson, 1961, 208). It was mentioned in taxation records for 1302-06 and in 1421 was referred to as the conventual priory of St Mary, dependent on Clare Abbey. The monastery was officially suppressed c.1543 and was held by 'friars' in 1584. The buildings were repaired for parochial use in 1615 (Gwynn and Hadcock, 1970, 178).


Exterior Features


E gable

Round-headed, of one order.

w. of label at base (approx.) 0.45 m
w. of light at base (approx.) 0.16 m

Plain continuous chamfered jambs and arch. The arch stone has a raised triangular label with an arcuated lower edge over the window arch; it is framed by mouldings which intersect at the top to form a small finial. The upper triangle of the label is decorated with foliage arranged symmetrically on either side of a central stem.


Plain, splayed.


Only the E gable contains recognizably Romanesque features. The triangular form of the decoration of the label of the E window is similar to a loose window arch at Kilcorney, Co. Clare. There is a similar raised triangular gable and finial over the exterior of the S window at Toureen Pekaun (Tipperary).


  • Killanin and M.V. Duignan, Shell Guide to Ireland. 1962, 2nd ed. 1967, 319 and 3rd ed. 1989, 124.
  • A. Gwynn and D.F. Gleeson, A History of the Diocese of Killaloe. Dublin 1961, 208.
  • A. Gwynn and R.N. Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses: Ireland. London 1970, 178.
  • T.J. Westropp, 'The Augustinian Houses of the County Clare: Clare, Killone, and Inchicronan.' JRSAI 30 (1900), 118-35.
  • T.J. Westropp, 'The Churches of County Clare and the Origin of the Ecclesiastical divisions in that county.' PRIA, 22 (1900) 146, no.71.
General view.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
R 39 86 
now: Clare
now: St Cronan
Type of building/monument
Augustinian priory  
Report authors
Tessa Garton