Saint Cronan’s 10th-century church is the oldest church in continuous use in Ireland or the UK. Open daily from April to September.
St Cronan’s 10th-century church is the oldest church in continuous use in Ireland or the UK, with a Church of Ireland Service held on the 4th Sunday of each month. It is open each day for visitors from April to September (inclusive), and signage explains the history and features of the building. Outside of these times, the unique doorway can be viewed without entering the church.
A new ‘free to view’ audio-visual documenting the history of Saint Cronan can be viewed within the church.
Both Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic followers are buried in the Church’s graveyard. St Cronan founded a Wooden Built Monastery here in the 6th century, and this site is one of the most notable and important ecclesiastical and historical places in Ireland. It is the only preserved building with a recorded link to Brian Boru, High King of Ireland 1002-1014, and visitors enter through the same doorway as he did over 1000 years ago!
The western part of the church was built between 949-964 AD, while the eastern portion was added in the 12th century and contains a number of features of interest from the Romanesque period.
The Doorway is considered a marvel of early Christian Church architecture and outside is a large stone similar to what the monks used to wash their clothes at Ross Errilly Friary in Galway.
There is a carved Romanesque sandstone head on display and is now known locally as Gráinne. In a folktale, Grian is a sun goddess who is drowned in nearby Lough Graney and is washed up and buried at Tuamgraney – Tomb of Grian. Others claim the carving represents Saint Cronan himself.
In 1990, a three-light stained glass window by renowned stained-glass artist Alfred E. Child was added to the Church’s eastern window. The nearby O’Grady Castle was built in the 15th century by the O’Grady family in order to protect the church. They were Ireland’s leading ecclesiastical family at that time.
Please enjoy your visit to our historic old Church and don’t forget to sign their visitor’s book.
Your visit there is free and to assist with the ongoing upkeep and maintenance, a donation box has been placed beside the door as you exit – your support would be greatly appreciated by the church.
- The oldest church in continuous use in Ireland or the UK.
- ‘Free to view’ audio visual documenting the history of St Cronan and his Church.
- Only preserved building with a recorded link to Brian Boru, the ancient High King of Ireland.
- You enter through the same doorway as Brian Boru did over 1,000 years ago.
- View three light-stained glass windows by renowned artist Alfred E. Child.
Good To Know
Admission: Free admission.
Open months: Open daily, April to September.
Visit duration: 20 to 30 minutes.
Suitability for younger children: Moderately suited.
Rainy days: Mostly indoor.
Accessibility: Partially wheelchair accessible.
Assistance/guide dogs: permitted.
Parking: Free car and coach parking nearby.
Details are subject to change.