Video: The Legendary 6th Century Clonmacnoise Monastery in County Offaly, Ireland on the River Shannon

The ancient  Clonmacnoise Monastery is world famous. Situated at the crossroads of Ireland, the Clonmacnoise ruins dates back almost 1,500 years. Saint Ciaran chose the site in 545 AD because of its ideal location at the junction of river and road travel in Celtic Ireland. Shortly after his arrival, Saint Ciaran met Prince Diarmuid (later crowned the first Christian High King of Ireland), who helped him to build the first church, a small wooden structure.

No single large church exists, or ever existed, here. Rather, there were a number of small, simple, wooden churches. Standing on the site now is a cluster of ruined churches that were built from the 12th century onwards. The monastic site of Clonmacnoise has seen many violent and destructive periods in its history.

Clonmacnoise was destroyed by fire at least 13 times and was attacked approximately 40 times between the 8th and the 12th centuries. Each time the Monks rebuilt. In 1552 it was finally reduced to ruin and from that time onwards there were no monasteries in Ireland for almost 300 hundred years.

The Clonmacnoise Monastery is one of the daily excursions offered by the 10 passenger Shannon Princess, cruising along the River Shannon through Ireland’s spectacular countryside.

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