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Feature Sets (2)


The church consists of a nave measuring 17.5 x 5.6 m internally, with walls of rough uncoursed limestone and ashlar quoins. It is roofless, but the walls are intact and the W wall and doorway restored. A small mortuary was added to the E of the church in 1667. There is a flat-headed door on the N side, a 15thc. door on the S side, and windows at the E end of the N and S walls. The W door incorporates reused Romanesque stones and the E window is Romanesque, both probably built into a later medieval church.


There is no early historical evidence of the site, but the low remains of a circular enclosure in the fields suggests that it may have been an early Christian site.


Exterior Features


W doorway, nave

Round-headed doorway, Red sandstone.

interior opening h. 2.15 m
interior opening w. 0.84 m
First order

A single square order set flush with the facade, with no decoration on the W face. The reset arch is plain. The imposts are moulded. There are no capitals or bases. The jambs include reused carved stones.

N jamb, second course: two stones decorated with a wave-like row of spiral scrolls between double ridged borders above and below.

The angle stone is decorated on the inside face of the jamb (S face): the surface is badly damaged and the decoration is only legible on the E section of the face. (Decorated face h. 0.21 x 0.53 m.; plain face 0.21 x 0.38 m)

The inner stone is decorated on the face with a similar and better preserved row of spiral scrolls between double ridged borders. (h. 0.21 x 0.26 m)

N jamb, Third course: the angle stone has indented grooves framing both faces. (h. 0.21 x 0.51 x 0.27 m)

N jamb, Seventh course: in the middle of the S face is a reused stone with an angle roll. (h. 0.13 x 0.35 m on visible face).

S jamb, second course: the angle stone has a vertical decorated band on the inner (N) face of jamb, with a running foliage scroll framed by ridged borders. (h. 0.35 x 0.20 x 0.29 m; width of decorative band 0.7 m).

S jamb, third course: the angle stone has a vertical decorative band similar to that on the second course, but more weathered and difficult to decipher. It is probably a continuation of the same foliage scroll band. (h. 0.20 x 0.31 x 0.40 m; width of decorative band 0.7 m).

The imposts have a horizontal moulding on the inner face of the jambs, with a hollow between two rolls. (h. 0.16 m)


E window

Of red sandstone. Reconstructed and incorporated into the medieval church.

The exterior is plain. It has a flat headed opening, with a chamfer on sides and bottom and a rebate at the top. It is surmounted by a small equal-armed cross in shallow relief on the lintel, very weathered.

The interior is round-headed and splayed (h. 2.30 x w 0.83 m). The opening is slightly off-centre. The bottom edge of the stone forming the flat head is decorated with three arched mouldings in low relief. The jambs are plain. The blocks immediately below the springing of the arch have weathered carvings. The voussoirs at the top and N of the arch are decorated with one row of chevrons on face and soffit, point-to-point. On one voussoir the points are squared off to give a hyphenated effect. Shallow relief carving, badly weathered and damaged. The third voussoir from the L is broken. The second and fourth voussoirs are the best preserved. Only one of the S voussoirs has faint traces of chevron, while the rest are badly weathered (or restored?).

Exterior h. 1.21 m
Exterior w. 0.13 m

N window

The window incorporates a red sandstone block carved with a rectangular frame containing four triangles with a central pellet in each.


Clyne compares the plant ornament to examples at Dysert O'Dea, Clonfert, Monaincha and Tuam Cathedral; the spiral scroll-work to Tuam, Killeshin and Liathmore; and the chevron forming lozenges on the arris to the Nun's Church, Clonmacnoise, St Saviour's, Glendalough, Monaincha and Killaloe. The closest comparisons for the foliage scrolls appear to be those on the colonnettes of Dysert O'Dea's S door and the abaci of Clonfert's W door; the closest comparisons for the spiral scrolls are on the abaci and capitals of Tuam chancel arch. These comparisons suggest a date in the later phase of Irish Romanesque, although the fragmentary state of the doorway makes it difficult to date with any precision.


  • D.F. Gleeson, Churches in the Deanery of Ormond, North Munster Archaeological Journal, VI, 1, 1951, 96-108.

  • A. Gwynn & D. F. Gleeson, A History of the Diocese of Killaloe, Dublin, 1962, 145.

  • P. Harbison, Guide to the National and Historic Monuments of Ireland, Dublin 1992, 306.

  • M. Clyne, Romanesque Carvings at Killodiernan, Co. Tipperary, North Munster Archaeological Journal, 26, 1984, 44-53.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
R 83 89 
now: Tipperary
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Church (ruin)  
Report authors
Tessa Garton