Corcomroe Abbey
Native name: Mainistir Chorco Modhruadh
Corcomroe Abbey as viewed from the southeast
Corcomroe Abbey as viewed from the southeast
Location: County Clare, Ireland
Coordinates: 53°07′27″N 9°03′30″W / 53.1241666667°N 9.05833333333°W / 53.1241666667; -9.05833333333Coordinates: 53°07′27″N 9°03′30″W / 53.1241666667°N 9.05833333333°W / 53.1241666667; -9.05833333333
Built: c. 1205-1210
Architect: Donal Mór Ua Briain
National Monument of Ireland
Reference #: 11[1]
Ireland location map
Red pog.svg
Location of Corcomroe Abbey in Ireland

Corcomroe Abbey (Irish: Mainistir Chorco Modhruadh) is an early 13th-century Cistercian monastery located in the north of the Burren region of County Clare, Ireland, a few miles east of the village of Ballyvaughan. It was once known as "St. Mary of the Fertile Rock", a reference to the Burren's fertile soil.

The abbey is noted for its detailed carvings and other rich ornamentation, which are not commonly found in structures from this period. It features a typical cruciform church facing east, with a small chapel in each transept.[2]


Corcomroe Effigy King Conor O Brien 1997 09 03

The tomb effigy of Conor na Siudane Ua Briain.

Corcomroe Abbey Crossing And Presbytery 1997 09 03

The interior of Corcomroe Abbey, looking east through the nave and into the presbytery.

Construction on the abbey most likely began sometime between 1205 and 1210 and used local limestone.[2] Legend maintains that the building was commissioned by King Conor na Siudane Ua Briain, who died in 1267 and whose tomb niche and effigy are visible in the north wall of the choir. According to the legend, Ua Briain executed the five masons who completed the abbey to prevent them from constructing a rival masterpiece elsewhere.[3] In reality, it was probably built by Conor's grandfather, Donal Mór Ua Briain (Donald O'Brien), the patron of a number of other religious structures in the historic Thomond region.

The English Reformation led to the dissolution of Catholic monasteries in England and Ireland. In 1554, the abbey was granted to the Earl of Thomond. The monks continued to tend the fields and maintain the abbey as circumstances allowed, but the political climate led to continued decline. The last abbot, the Reverend John O'Dea, was named in 1628.


  1. National Monuments in County Clare
  2. 2.0 2.1 Nelson, E. Charles & Stalley, Roger A. (1989). "Medieval Naturalism and the Botanical Carvings at Corcomroe Abbey (County Clare)". Gesta 28 (2): 165–174. doi:10.2307/767066. 
  3. Westropp, Thos. J. (1912). "A Folklore Survey of County Clare". Folklore 23 (2): 204–215. 

See also


External links

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