Franciscan Friary

The Friary was established by the O'Kennedy family, Irish neighbours of Theobald Fitzwalter, in the 13th Century. This was an unusual occurance because at that period Fitzwalter was the lord of the area, and it was traditionally Norman settlers that invited religious orders into their territories. It was here that the Annals of Nenagh were compiled during the period 1336 to 1528, copies of which still exist today. The grounds of the Friary have been used, as is the case elsewhere with other abbeys, as a burial ground, and the earliest inscribed headstone, that of Mrs. Frances Minchin, dates from 1696.

H.G. Leask wrote a comprehensive description of the Friary in 1937. He described the ruin as a simple, long rectangle, without any obvious division into nave and chancel. He recorded that the church has fine windows in the east gable, and eleven windows in the north wall of the choir.

Over the doorway can be seen the carving of a figure wearing a 15th Century headdress. This was once thought to be part of an effigy, while the decoration it crowns formed part of an archway. The pieces were coupled together during the conservation work of 1929.

Source - Murphy, "Walkabout Nenagh"

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