St Brigid, Inishcaltra, St Brigid (Iniscealtra, Holy Island)

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Feature Sets (2)


A small rectangular single cell church, 5.9 m x 3.6 m, situated within a walled enclosure. Romanesque sculpture is found in the W doorway and set into the gable above. The entrance of the enclosure to the S of the church also bears shallow mouldings formed by incised lines on its inside face.


See Inishcaltra, St Caimin. The gable of the church was blown down in 1839. The doorway was demolished during the 19thc. and at the time of Westropp's visit in 1877, only the foundations and a low N wall remained. The stone wall and entrance arch (rebuilt 1879) are part of the enclosure of the church of St Mary.


Exterior Features


W doorway

Round-headed, of three orders. (Some blank stones were inserted during the restorations of 1879).

h. of opening 1.82 m
w. of opening 0.72 m
Inner order

No bases

Jambs: N jamb: two rows of low-relief lateral chevrons on the w. face and reveal forming lozenges. These interlock on the arris to form a cogwheel edge. S jamb badly weathered. Plain chamfered imposts.

Arch: The arch has multiple lateral chevrons on face and soffit, forming lozenges on soffit, some of which contain rosettes. Interior: The N and S faces of the jambs have lateral chevron (only remaining on the lower four courses of the N jamb).

No bases

Jambs: The jambs have two rows of frontal chevron on the W face, and lateral chevrons on the N and S faces. The top two courses of the S jamb are not original; the bottom three courses have two rows of frontal chevron separated by a fillet. The imposts are plain and chamfered.

Arch: The arch has two rows of frontal chevronon the face, separated by a fillet. The soffit is plain. The bottom N voussoir is badly weathered.

No bases

Jambs: There is an angle roll on the lower two courses of the N jamb, and on the lower three courses of the S jamb. The upper courses of both jambs are plain and restored. Plain chamfered imposts.

Arch: Plain arch, with pellets set in hollow chamfer on the label (similar to the corbel table on the chancel of St Caimin's) . The upper voussoirs in the centre are plain and restored.

Second order

Third order

Exterior Decoration


Reset fragments

set in the gable above the W doorway are five sections of pellet or beaded moulding similar to the label of the W doorway.


(Westropp refers to this church as the 'Baptism church' or St Michael's). The doorway was inaccurately reconstructed in 1879 from surviving fragments. The chevron designs are similar to those on the W door of St Caimin's, and the sculptural decoration appears to be contemporary with the mid-12thc. work at St Caimin's. For further bibliography, see Inishcaltra, St Caimin.


  • L. De Paor, 'The History of the Monastic Site of Inis Cealtra, Co. Clare', NMAJ, 37,(1996), 21-32.

  • G. Madden, Holy Island: Jewel of the Lough: A History. Tuamgraney 1990.

  • R.A.S. Macalister, 'The History and Antiquities of Inis Cealtra,' PRIA 33 C (1916), 93-174.

  • R. Brash, 'Inishcaltra and its Remains,' The Gentleman's Magazine (January 1866), 7-22.

  • T.J. Westropp, 'The Churches of County Clare and the Origin of the Ecclesiastical divisions in that county,' PRIA, 22, (1900), 155-7.

General view from E.
Exterior, general view.


Site Location
Inishcaltra, St Brigid (Iniscealtra, Holy Island)
National Grid Reference
R 69 85 
now: Clare
now: St Brigid
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Tessa Garton