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St Cronan, Temple Cronan, Carron, Clare

(53°2′46″N, 9°3′33″W)
Temple Cronan
M 29 00
pre-1974 traditional (Republic of Ireland) Clare
now Clare
  • Tessa Garton

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A small roofless oratory approx. 6.65 m x 3.91 m (Westropp), with gables and side walls intact. The lower walls contain large limestone blocks; the quoins are rounded at the angle and some have a slight arris roll. A number of heads and corbels are set into the walls. The original W doorway is blocked with rubble masonry, and a later medieval doorway is inserted into the N wall. Romanesque sculpture is found on the W doorway to the nave, in the E gable window, on a head set above the N doorway, and on various corbels. There is also a plain font. Near the oratory are two house-shaped shrines or tombs, constructed of stone slabs.


Founded by St. Cronan (of Roscrea or Tuamgraney?)


Exterior Features



Exterior Decoration

Corbel tables, corbels




The church appears to be largely 12thc. with some later medieval alterations, including the rebuilding of the upper parts of the E window on the interior, the insertion of the N doorway and blocking of the W doorway, and relocation of some of the corbels. The beast head on the S side of the W doorway does not appear to be in its original position, and may originally have served as a corbel. It is similar in style to some of the beast heads at the Nuns' Church, Clonmacnoise. The human heads on the W facade and over the N doorway are unusually realistic in style; they are not in their original locations, and appear to have been designed as corbels.

A. Champneys, Irish Ecclesiastical Architecture. London and Dublin 1910, 1971, 103-4.
Dunraven, Notes on Irish Architecture. Dublin 1875 I, 105, 107.
H.G. Leask, Irish Churches and Monastic Buildings. Dundalk 1955 I, 74.
P. Harbison, 'An Ancient Pilgrimage 'Relic-Road' in North Clare?', The Other Clare, 24 (2000), 55-59.
P. Harbison, 'Some Romanesque Heads from County Clare', NMAJ, 15 (1972), 3-5.
G. Petrie, The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland anterior to the Norman invasion. Dublin 1845, 184.
J. Ruffino, The church and site of Temple Cronan, the Burran, County Clare (Unpublished MA dissertation, UCC, 2000)
T.N. Westropp, 'The Churches of County Clare, and the origin of the ecclesiastical divisions in that county,' PRIA, 22 (1900) 134.