The wonderful 12th century Romanesque doorway at Killeshin Church, Laois


Killeshin church laois

Located close to the border with Co. Carlow, the small medieval church at Killeshin, Co. Laois contains a remarkable piece of Romanesque architecture. It consists of an elaborately decorated doorway in the western gable wall of the ruined church. Most likely erected between 1150 and 1160 AD, an inscription on the doorway reads ‘Orait do Diarmait Ri Lagen‘ or ‘a prayer for Diarmait, king of Leinster’. This suggests that Diarmait Mac Murchada, a somewhat controversial figure in Irish history, may have commissioned the entrance. Although worn in places, the door still contains a wide range of decorative motifs, including complex interlace, geometric and foliate designs as well human and animal figures. You can garner a flavour of some these wonderfully intricate carvings in the images below.

Romanesque art
A face , foliate design and a cat
Killeshin church door 14
A beared face above the doorway
Killeshin church door 12
A series of faces
Killeshin church door 1
A face looks out from a door pillar
Killeshin door
A series of decorative panels 
Killeshin church door
Geometric designs on the doorway arch 
Killeshin church door 9
Part of the dedication to Diarmait Mac Murchada
Killeshin church door 13
The elaborate door pillars 
A decorative panel
A series of decorative panels
A series of human faces
An illustration of what the panels may have originally looked like (OPW)
A panel containing zoomorphic interlace 
The bearded man above the doorway
Geometric designs 




2 thoughts on “The wonderful 12th century Romanesque doorway at Killeshin Church, Laois

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.