Photos of Ancient Churches, Abbeys and Graves

A selection of some of the brilliant images that have been entered into our Photography Competition, this time with an emphasis on ancient churches, abbeys and graves. Don’t forget there are also posts showing photos of Irish Castles and Forts and Prehistoric Irish sitesAll of the images used in this blog post are copyright of the respective photographers, please respect this.

St Kevins church glendalough

 St. Kevin’s Kitchen, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow. Photo by Michael Richardson. 


 Bonamargy meaning ‘Foot of the Margy’ is a Franciscan foundation established in 1485, in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim. Photo by Matt Woodhouse. 

Celtic Cross at Clonmacnoise

 Celtic Cross at Clonmacnoise, Co. Offaly. Photo by Brian Engler 

The Round Tower at Glendalough

 The Round Tower at Glendalough, Co. Wicklow. Photo by Cian Corrigan. 

Hore Abbey, Cashel, Tipperary

 Hore abbey, Cashel, Co. Tipperary. Photo by Esteban Garcia Alonso.

Ballinasloe Church

Old church ruin, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. Photo by John Doheny. 

Ascent to Skellig Michael

Ascent to Skellig Michael, Co. Kerry. Photo by Sharon Boland.

Askeaton Friary

Askeaton Friary, Co. Limerick. Photo by Joseph Lennon.

Clomtanagh Church Sunset

Clomtanagh church ruin at sunset, near Freshford, Co. Kilkenny. Photo by John Doheny. 

Cashel Rock Sentry

 Cashel Rock Sentry. Photo by Colleen Marie Design.


‘Black Nun’. The grave of Julia McQuillan, who lived and was murdered at Bonamargy in 1600, she is said to still haunt the Friary, and this grave is said to be the location of her remains. Photo by Matt Woodhouse. 

Durrow High Cross

Durrow High Cross. Photo by Emmet Keohan.

Viking grave Clare

‘Viking grave’, The Burren, Co. Clare. Photo by Colleen Marie Design. 

St. Brendans Church and Graveyard Birr, Co. Offaly, Stephen Callaghan

St. Brendan’s multi-period church and graveyard, Birr, Co. Offaly. Photo by Stephen Callaghan.

Temple Finghin from the Cathedral Clonmacnoise

Temple Finghin from the Cathedral Clonmacnoise, Co. Offaly. Photo by Emmet Keohan.

Seir Kieran, Co. Offaly, Stephen Callaghan

Saint Kieran’s church and gun-tower at Seir Kieran Monastic site, Co. Offaly. Photo by Stephen Callaghan.

The Royal Palace at Phnom Penn Cambodia

 The Royal Palace at Phnom Penn Cambodia. Photo by Cian Corrigan. 

Roscommon Friary


‘Roscommon Friary Window’. This is a shot of a grave and window from Roscommon Dominican Friary, founded in 1253 by Felim O’ Connor, the King Of Connaught. The original lancet windows in the east and west walls were replaced with traceried windows in the fifteenth century. Photo by Joseph Smith. 

St Marys Church (1)

The ruins of St Mary’s Church in Delvin, Co. Westmeath. Photo by Louise Neighbour.

Old church Avoca

Old church ruin, Avoca, Co. Wicklow. Photo by John Doheny.

Ogham Stone  Uaimh na gCat or the Cave of the Cats, Rathcroaghan

This is an Ogham Stone that was reused as a lintel at the entrance to Uaimh na gCat or the Cave of the Cats, near the Rathcroaghan royal site in Co. Roscommon. The entrance and a short inner section of the cave is thought to have been reworked as a souterrain which leads into the cave proper. The Ogham lettering on the stone has been partially translated with the words “FRAECH” and “SON OF MEDB” being identified.Photo by Ciarán Davis.

Hot & Cold  Pompeii

Hot and Cold. ‘It was taken in the Caldarium at Pompeii, which is a hot bath and the basin depicted lay at the opposite end to hot bath, and held cold water for the bathers to cool themselves if the temperature became excessive’. Photo by Joseph Smith. 

Mungret Abbey

Mungret is one of the last buildings left on the site of a 6th century monastery established by St. Nessan. We happened upon it in the autumn where the dramatic evening light illuminated it wonderfully. Photo by Louise Lynch.

Monasterboice roundtower

Monasterboice Roundtower. ‘This gorgeous roundtower stands 30m high and was built in the 5th century.’ Photo by Louise Lynch.

Timahoe round tower

Round tower Timahoe, Co. Laois. Photo by Ger Cullen.

Boyle Abbey

Boyle Abbey, Co. Roscommon. Photo by Matt Peace.

Hill of Slane

Sacred Spaces and Liminal Places. This particular picture was taken atop the Hill of Slane, Co. Meath, through the window slots of the ruined college. Photo by Patrick Sattler.

Cong abbey mayo

Magnificent and ornate stonework carvings adorn this doorway at Cong Abbey, County Mayo. Photo Maureen Espelien.

Gallarus oratory

 Gallarus Oratory, Dingle, Co. Kerry. Photo by Sharon Boland.


‘The Lavabo (where the monks washed their hands before meals) at Mellifont Abbey, Co. Louth, the first Cistersian Abbey in Ireland, founded in 1142’. Photo by Joseph Smith. 

The Yellow Steeple, Trim, Co. Meath.

‘Yellow Steeple storm’. The Yellow Steeple, Trim, Co. Meath. Photo by Declan Finn.

Newtown Abbey, Trim Stephen Callaghan

Newtown Abbey, Trim, Co. Meath. Photo by Stephen Callaghan

Westport Bridge

 Westport bridge, Co. Mayo. Photo by Jess Mason.

7 thoughts on “Photos of Ancient Churches, Abbeys and Graves

  1. These photos are phenomenal, total magic.
    (Just a quick question- wasn’t Monasterboice Round Tower built far later than the 5th century? The monastery has certainly existed since that time, but the actual tower is from around the 10th century I believe.)

  2. Beautiful pictures, I just purchased a picture at a yard sale & am trying to track down what it is a picture of, I can email a copy of the picture, your help will be greatly appreciated.

  3. Hi, Just came back from a trip to Ireland ( third time over there ) really like the abbey/church ruins (Quin Abbey a fav ) . I have a question, are people buried inside or are the headstones just laid there ?

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