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Feature Sets (3)


Romanesque nave and chancel church, restored in the 19thc. The chancel has a plain round-headed chancel arch with plain imposts and a small, plain round-headed E window, with interior splay. The nave has a plain, round-headed window with interior splay. There are projecting corbels with hollow chamfer at the NE corner of the chancel and nave. Two loose stones (one with Romanesque sculpture) have been set on a plain stone altar at the E end of the chancel. There is an early cross-slab in the SW corner of the nave. The church is roofless, but walls survive to a h. of c. 4 m. Romanesque sculpture is found on the elaborately carved W doorway.



Exterior Features


W doorway, nave

Of three orders. The arch has been rebuilt to a shallow curve. Inclined jambs. Limestone (?) badly weathered and pitted with holes.

h. of opening 1.80 m
w. of opening at base 0.64 m
w. of opening at imposts 0.60 m
First order

Bases with thick (keeled) torus below angle-shafts, framed by a wedge which continues from the vertical wedges on the jambs. The jambs have three-quarter angle shafts flanked by wedges. There are human heads at the top of the angle-shafts, with large high-set ears, curly hair and beards. On the inner (N and S) face of each jamb the wedges turn ninety degrees to join each other at the centre of the jamb, forming a continuous moulding.

Plain abacus.

The arch has angle-roll flanked by wedges.


Of one order. The jambs have angle-shafts flanked by wedges and the arch has an angle-roll flanked by wedges, of corresponding scale. There are human heads at the top of angle-shafts, damaged on the E face. The head on the N jamb has moustaches curling upwards. The head on the S jamb has interlaced hair and a curly moustache and beard.

Second order

Bases with chamfered angles, with a thick torus and bulbous sections below the angle-shafts. Jambs with three-quarter angle-shafts flanked by wedges. The capitals have heads on the angles, integral abaci and necking.

L capital: beast heads, with tear-drop shaped eyes, protruding foreheads and interlacing lappets on the muzzles.

R capital: human heads.

The arch has chevron carved frontal to the face of the order, comprising three rolls separated by wedges. (a voussoir of this type is now on the altar, and may have formed part of this order). The arch does not fit the width of the jambs and may have been incorrectly rebuilt in this position.

Third order

Bases with a thick (keeled) torus corresponding to angle-shafts and central roll, and mouldings continuing from wedges on jambs over the torus to form a pattern of interlace on the base. The jambs have three-quarter pseudo angle-shafts flanked by wedges. The capitals have human heads on the angles with integral abaci and necking. Both capitals are similar in design, the heads, with large ears, curly hair and interlacing moustaches and beard, taking up the full height of the capital. The capitals are very weathered.

The arch has been rebuilt and is evidently missing at least one voussoir. It rests on springers which are badly weathered, but which may have been decorated with beast heads. The voussoirs are narrower than the jambs and the springers, and may have been incorrectly rebuilt in this position. There are nine voussoirs carved with human heads, set radially under a projecting roll and a wedge. The heads are generally beardless and placed one per voussoir, with the following exceptions: the second voussoir from the L has two heads; the sixth head has curly hair and a beard; the seventh head is too badly weathered to decipher; the head on the R (and also possibly the adjacent two heads) wears a hood or cowl.

Loose Sculpture

Jamb stone

Section of jamb with angle shafts flanked by wedges, with a central roll on the face between the wedges (similar to the jambs of the third order of the W doorway).


d. 0.24 m.
h. 0.24 m
w. 0.30 m


One tooth of chevron frontal to the face, three rolls separated by wedges, with lateral chevron on the soffit (roll, wedge). Similar to the second order of the W doorway.


d. 0.25 m
h. 0.18 m
w. 0.20 m


On the evidence of the deep pilasters, Leask suggests that the W doorway was once much deeper, forming a porch like that at Freshford or Donaghmore. The arches are incorrectly rebuilt; the voussoirs are narrower than the jambs in the second and third orders. However, the overall design may help in reconstructing the original arrangement of loose stones at Annaghdown.

The doorway combines features from Annaghdown and the Nun's Church, Clonmacnois. The head capitals have parallels at Annaghdown. the jamb mouldings are also similar to to those at Annaghdown. The monster head capital of the second order L jamb is very similar to a capital on the Nun's Church W doorway. The frontal chevron of the second order is also similar to the Nun's Church W doorway. The doorway combines naturalistic human heads on the arch with stylised human heads and interlaced hair on the capitals, as well as a monster head (and column swallower?) capital. Thus it suggests no differentiation between naturalistic and stylised schools or workshops.

The stone used in the doorway, possibly limestone, is weathered and has numerous holes.


  • Fahey, J., ‘The Shrines of Inchagoill, Lough Corrib’, JRSAI, 31, 1901, 236-46.
  • Leask, H.G., Irish Churches and Monastic Buildings Vol 1, Dundalk, 1955, 110-1.
W facade.
Interior from W.
Exterior from NE.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
M 13 49 
now: Galway
medieval: Saints' Church
Type of building/monument
Ruined church  
Report authors
Tessa Garton