Donal Mor O'Brien, the founder of St Mary's Cathedral in Limerick, built a church in Killaloe in the early twelfth century. Between 1195 and 1225, it was replaced by the present cathedral, which was dedicated to St Flannan, an eighth-century ancestor of Donal Mor. 

St. Flannan's Cathedral sits beneath the evening sky.
Some of the most spectacular views of St Flannan's Cathedral can be experienced from Between the Waters.

Its style is mainly Gothic, but there are traces of earlier styles, such as the rounded central arch of the east window, which contrasts with the typical Gothic pointed arch. Built of yellow and purple sandstone, the cathedral also contains windows and carved stones from earlier churches.

Features — what to expect

There is a magnificent twelfth-century Romanesque doorway that has over 130 patterns of plants and animals on it. This doorway may have been from an earlier cathedral built by Donal Mor O'Brien. Beneath the doorway is two grave slabs that also date back to the twelfth century. It is believed that these mark the burial place of Muircheartach O'Brien, King of Munster, who died while on pilgrimage to Killaloe in 1119.

Keep your eyes peeled for the historical ogham stone that dates back to 1000AD. This ogham stone was only discovered in the early twentieth century. This is a very unique ogham stone as not only does it bear the inscriptions of this ancient Gaelic language, but it also has an inscription in Runes (a Scandinavian script).

A chime of eight bells resides in the tower of St Flannan's Cathedral. The bells were installed in 1896 and are rung regularly.

Directions — how to get here

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