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Coole Large Church, Coole, Cork

(52°6′26″N, 8°12′18″W)
Coole Large Church, Coole
W 86 95
pre-1974 traditional (Republic of Ireland) Cork
now Cork
medieval Cloyne
now Cloyne
  • Rachel Moss
18 Apr 1997

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Ruined church situated centrally within graveyard. The church consists of an earlier nave (internal dimensions 10.7m x 7.5m) and of a later chancel (6.6m x 7.5m.). Traces of antae are preserved at either end of the N wall and at the E end of the S wall of the nave. A doorway inserted at the W end of the S wall with a now destroyed porch, has obliterated any trace of an antae at this angle. There is a plain pointed chancel arch (w. 1.95m) framed by a rectangular projection on both wall faces, and a pointed arch externally over SE door with a lintel on the interior, this doorway is framed by a similar rectangular projection. There is a single light slit in the S wall and a double ogee-headed light centrally positioned in the E wall.


Monastery founded on the site in 615 by St. Abban. According to the O.S. field books a church was founded here by John de Barry in 1295 and given, three years later, to the Knights Templar. A tooth of St. Patrick was reputedly kept here as a relic. During the 14thc. Coole was a considerable Episcopal manor, and the Bishop of Cloyne is reputed to have had a castle, and later a summer residence here. In 1642 a skirmish between the Condons and a company of Lord Barrymore's troops is recorded as having taken place within the church. The entire church is listed as being in ruins by 1694.


Exterior Features



Interior Features

Interior Decoration

Loose Sculpture


The rosette has been compared to similar features at Cormac's Chapel Cashel, and Roscrea, and based on this comparison has been dated to c. 1130 (O'Keeffe, 1994).


Brady, W.M., Clerical and Parochial Records of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, 3 Vols, (1863, Privately Published) Vol. 2 , 171.

Gwynn, A., and Hadcock, N., Medieval Religious Houses Ireland (Dublin, 1970) 340, 378.

Leask, H.G., 'Coole Church', Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society 46 (1941), 80.

O'Keeffe, T., 'Lismore and Cashel: Reflections on the Beginnings Romanesque Architecture in Munster', Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 124, (1994), 118-151.

Power, D. et al, Archaeological Inventory of County Cork, Volume 2: East and South Cork. (Dublin, 1994) 246-248.

Power, P., 'The Churches of Coole, Co. Cork', Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 49, (1919), 47-54.

Waters, E.W., 'Coole', Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society 32, (1927) 52-3.