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Clonard Abbey (Irish, Cluain Eraird, or Cluain Iraird, "Erard's Meadow") was an early medieval monastery situated on the River Boyne, just beside the traditional boundary line of the northern and southern halves of Ireland in modern County Meath. The village of Clonard is nearby.
The monastery was founded in about 520 by Saint Finnian, who initially constructed a single cell at the site. The original site may have been at nearby Ard Relec. According to medieval chronicles, Finnian was led to the site by an angel who told him that it would be the place of his resurrection. Finnian was buried on the site after his death in about 549. During the sixth century, some of the most significant names in the history of Irish Christianity (who would go on to be known as the Twelve Apostles of Ireland) studied at the monastery.
From the eighth century onwards, Clonard came under the control of various rival political dynasties, and by the mid-ninth century, it was the leading church of the Irish midlands. The abbot of Clonard led the clergy of the midlands in the same fashion that the abbot of Armagh led those in the north. During its heyday, a hymn written in Finnian's honor claimed that the monastery's school housed 3,000 pupils receiving religious instruction at any given time. Like many monastic sites in Ireland, Clonard suffered heavy losses under the Viking raids of the ninth through eleventh centuries.
Very little remains of the site today. From the air, the outlines of some wall boundaries and other earthworks are visible.
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- ↑ "School of Clonard". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04064a.htm.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lalor, Brian (2003). The Encyclopedia of Ireland. Yale University Press. p. 212. ISBN 0-300-09442-6.
- ↑ Charles-Edwards, T.M. (2006). The Chronicle of Ireland. Liverpool University Press. pp. 9–10. ISBN 0-85323-959-2.