Clonfert Research Project was initiated in 1997 to develop a greater understanding and awareness of Clonfert’s Medieval past and to advance the long-term conservation of this unique heritage.

Our conference celebrated aspects of that heritage by bringing together some of Irelands leading scholars in the fields of archaeology, history, medieval music, and conservation. Each contributor deals with a different topic, all of which help to illuminate the richness of this great ecclesiastical centre.

Clonfert founded by St Brendan the Navigator in the mid sixth century was provided with diocesan status at the Synod of Rath Breasail in 1111, just nine hundred years ago. It has continued in that role up to the modern era.

The initial damliac that was elevated to cathedral status at that time was a simple unadorned single-chamber structure. It forms the core of the present building and can be clearly defined by the presence of antae at each corner. The damliac was first noted in the annals when it was burned in 1045. The current cathedral was modified and enlarged throughout its history to fit the needs of congregational use. While its crowning glory is its wonderfully carved late twelfth-century Romanesque Doorway, the rich array of carvings from the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries are equally impressive.


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