St Declan's Monastery
St Declan's Monastery information
The ruins of Ireland's oldest Christian settlement occupy a striking setting on a hill above the town, strewn with gravestones both ancient and new. The most prominent landmark is the 30m-high round tower , one of the best examples in Ireland. But the most remarkable is the roofless shell of Ardmore Cathedral , in particular the Romanesque arcading on the west gable, decorated with worn but still wonderful 12th-century stone carvings of biblical scenes – very unusual in Ireland.
Inside the cathedral are two Ogham stones featuring the earliest form of writing in Ireland, one with the longest such inscription in the country, and a number of medieval grave slabs. The oldest building on the site is the 8th-century Oratory of St Declan , which was restored in 1716; the saint is said to be buried beneath a hollow in its southeast corner.