Ross Errilly Friary, Co. Galway in Photos

Ross Errily Friary Galway

I recently visited the impressive ruins of Ross Errilly Friary in Co. Galway. Founded in 1351 AD, it represents one of the finest medieval Franciscan monasteries  in Ireland. It is located just outside the small town of Headford, on the banks of the Black River, in area of rolling pasture-land.  The friary contains an  extensive range of buildings, most of which date from the 15th century.  These include a bell tower, a large church, a central cloister and a wide range of domestic buildings, such as a kitchen, bake house, refectory and dormitories (located on the upper levels).  One of the more unusual features at the site is a large stone cistern, which originally held live fish, caught in the nearby river. You could easily lose an hour or two rambling through these ruins and a visit to Ross Errilly is is highly recommended.


The Friary from the air (source)



Medieval mullioned windows



The Friary buildings



The cloister



19th century headstone within the cloister



Medieval portals


Ross Errily

The ruined church





Inside the church



Medieval window



Fish holding tank



Reused crucifixion scene, c. 15th/16th century in date



Large fireplace in the kitchen area



Mullioned window



Medieval doorways



More mullioned windows


Ross errily 1

Medieval church window and bell tower

Ross Errilly .

Domestic range of buildings



Early 18th century grave plaque



Ross Errilly Friary


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6 Responses to Ross Errilly Friary, Co. Galway in Photos

  1. Bernadette December 1, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    Hi Colm
    I just wanted to say something about the foundation date for Ross Errilly – mainly because it gave me a major headache while doing my Archaeology Dissertation!! If you look at Fr. Mooney or Fr O Clabaigh work you will see that the dates for Ross Errilly is disputed and contested and are believed to range anywhere between 1351-1498. However Mooney believes it to be toward the latter date and somewhere between 1420-1469 which is either side of the ‘year of Observance’ as possible. Until there is a full scale excavation at the site we will really never know (and as we all know excavation doesn’t always lead to a foundation date either).

    • Colm December 1, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

      Thanks for sharing that extra info Bernadette, Colm

  2. Tony Harpur January 14, 2015 at 7:35 pm #

    What is astonishing is that Ross Errilly looks like the masons have only just left and the carpenters are waiting on a supply of oak beams to complete the roofing and internal floors. There are probably waiting on the heavy work to be completed in case their precious window glass is damaged! And they needed a lot of glass for all of those windows.

  3. Peg Helminski April 7, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    Does anyone know what happened to the windows? Were they stained glass? Did they get destroyed or moved to another church somewhere?

    • Colm April 13, 2017 at 1:00 pm #

      Hi Peg, yes it was probably filled with stained glass, but unfortunately this was all lost when the monasteries were decommissioned in the 16th century by Henry VIII

  4. John October 15, 2018 at 9:10 pm #

    hey, there’s a nice article on as well… i can’t find a map of the buildings.. you know of one?

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