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


6 thoughts on “Ross Errilly Friary, Co. Galway in Photos

  1. 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).

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

    1. 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

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