SCENES from IRELAND
38. Dysert O'Dea - A History Trail, near Corofin, Co. Clare - Part 2 Dysert O'Dea Abbey church monastic site, Round Tower, Rath earthen ring fort, Rath Church, Loch Ratha/Raha and Rath Castle
Dysert O'Dea Abbey, St Tola's Church, was originally the site of the 8th century hermitage church of St Tóla. This monastic site was extensively rebuilt in the 12th and 17th century. The fine three-light east window in the ruins of Dysert O'Dea Abbey. By the church is the 11th century round tower blasted by the guns of Cromwell's army! It was built as a belfry and a refuge for monks and their valuable books and treasures. It may have been one of Ireland's tallest round towers at ~100 ft (33m)?
The fine 13th century Romanesque doorway of four orders surrounded by a row of animal and human heads.
Details of the magnificent Romanesque archway, originally the west door, it has been reconstructed in the south wall.
Looking down the nave to the chancel and the east window of Dysert O'Dea Abbey.
North-west of Dysert O'Dea Abbey is the Rath low earthen ring fort, on the left of the road up to Rath Church, Loch Ratha, and Rath Castle. Rath means 'an enclosure'
Rath Blathmach Church, Loch Rath (Lake Ratha) and Rath Castle ruins stand on the edge of the lake shore. Rath Castle is a ruined 15th century tower house badly damaged by Cromwell's army in 1650.
Rath medieval church consists of a ruined roofless nave and chancel. This early monastic site is associated with St Blathmac, a 6th century saint and in the 12th century was an important centre of learning. It was rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries.
Most of what you see today of Rath church dates from the 15th century but some of the larger stones used in the nave may well be from the 9th-10th century church.
There is some 12th century Romanesque carved stonework on the inner south wall of Rath Church, including a 'Sheela-na-gig' surrounded by 'biting animals', an exhibitionist female figure whose function was to avert evil.
Rath Church - On the left a 'Síle na nCíg' or sculptured female form representing the 'Sin of Lust'. On the right is a carved bishop's head, similar to that in St Fachtnan's Cathedral, Kilfenora.
Apparently the 'Síle na nCíg' was set in the wall upside down, so, compare at your leisure!
The correct way up!
To the right of the carved head of a bishop is a hand washing bowl.
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