After days of fine weather, we wake up to a grey sky. It is still dry, but after a visit to Doolin Cave, and drive along the coast, the infamous Irish rain starts to fall on us, always harder. We seek refuge in a chocolate factory whose smell alone is a seller, and when we continue to explore the Burren, the rain hammers the roof of our small car. A short walk in the unique Burren whets or appetite, but also wets our clothes, so we decide to change plans and explore the crosses of Kilfenora before driving on to Corcomroe Abbey. By the time we reach Corcomroe Abbey, the rain has changed into a drizzle. The sandstone ruins of this early 13th century abbey rise high above us, and we find a surprisingly colourful cemetery just outside its walls.
While the abbey has been abandoned centuries ago, the walls still stand, but the roof is gone. The floor is the last resting place for many; family tombstones lie one next to the other. A layer of water makes them shine; most have a thin layer of moss contrasting nicely with the dark colours of the stone. From the calligraphic texts on the stones, we deduce that some tombs span several centuries, and some are more recent than we had imagined for such a place with a feel of being forgotten. Apart from the tombstones, we have a look at details of this ruined building, and find finely carved details of columns at both the base and the capital and arches in the walls. The wind and rain must be slowly eating away at Corcomroe Abbey, but for the time being, the sculpted fineprint of the church are still doing well.
The sanctuary of Corcomroe Abbey holds more tombs, an arched open space, and a sculpted person lying belly-up on the floor. This is the king Conor O'Brien, who ruled of Thomond, and was killed in combat during the battle of Siudáine, close to Corcomroe, in the 13th century, just after the abbey was established. The monks managed to retrieve the body and buried it here, in a tomb effigy in a vaulted space in the presbytery. When we turn around, we see across the aisle of the church, and the grey sky above. Carved crosses stick out of the floor. In the side aisles, we see more tombs and crosses. The rain has now stopped completely, but when I walk around the church to get a good view of the outside, my shoes still get wet because of the grass. It is getting dark, and time to leave and get dry.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Corcomroe Abbey (Ireland). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Corcomroe Abbey.
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