Moher Moments Tips - Corcomroe Abbey

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Some Meanderings, Memories and More… from Moher Cottage, St. Brigid's Well, Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare, Ireland

This blog is the first in a series of tips and advice for the visitor to Co.Clare, whether that be someone from outside Clare or from overseas. these Moher Moments Tip will be from us living here in St.Brigid' Well in Co.Clare but also in future blogs we will have some guest authors from elsewhere in Ireland.

So as its Easter Monday and we had shared yesterday the lovely blessing from John O'Donohue we thought perhaps useful to share a little more of the hidden gem that is Corcomroe Abbey.

If you have never heard of Corcomroe Abbey please do add it to your list to visit. A walk around Corcomroe is almost spiritual. The Abbey is beautifully situated on the edge of the rocky hills of the Burren at Bell Harbour on the road between Ballyvaughan to Kinvara. It is an easy stop off on the road from here at the Cliffs of Moher to Galway.

Corcomroe was founded for the Cistercian monks around 1194 and the church that can be seen today was constructed in the early 13th century.

The name is said to have derived from Corcamruadh, cor meaning district; cam, quarrel and ruadh, red. It is believed that the building was commissioned by Dónal Mór O’Brien, King of Thomond, who built many churches at that time.

While its setting is breath-taking, the extreme decoration within the stonework in the Abbey is unusual. The stonework is of such high quality folklore is that that it led to the ultimate demise of the five stonemasons involved, who were executed by O’Brien to prevent them repeating their masterpiece somewhere else.

Interesting too to know that the abbey acquired the name of 'Sancta Maria de Petra Fertili'- 'St. Mary of the Fertile Rock' which describes its position in a sheltered, fertile green valley of the Burren, derived from the Irish, "Boireann" meaning a Stoney Place, as it was surrounded by bare grey limestone mountains. Look closely and you will see a number of carved flowers resembling bluebells within the intricate stonework there. 


Further interesting images are displayed in the chapels which include human masks and dragons' heads. In the north wall there is a tomb-niche holding a recumbent effigy of King Conor na Siúdaine Ua Briain one of the very few examples remaining of an Irish Chieftain.


Corcomroe is a fascinating stop on a drive through the Burren for us locals and an easy break on the journey for the visitor driving to Galway from here. It is a place to walk through slowly, to stop and notice the details.

Take Care all until we travel again.

#MoherCottage #MoherMoment #OneADay #WhenWeTravelAgain



1 comment

  • Kathleen Considine

    Kathleen Considine

    April 15, 2020 at 11:31 PM

    Briana and I visited here last May at the recommendation of a worker at Alliwee Caves. We loved it! It was just as you described but you filled in all the history we were missing so thanks!

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