Killeshin Church

Killeshin Church is a 12th-century Romanesque church and National Monument located in County Laois, Ireland.

Killeshin Church
Glenn Uisin
Romanesque Doorway Killishen - - 425807.jpg
Killeshin Church is located in Ireland
Killeshin Church
Location within Ireland
Monastery information
Other namesKillushin, Glenn Ussen, Glenn Uissen, Glenn Uisen
OrderCeltic Christianity
EstablishedAD 545
Founder(s)Saint Diarmait mac Siabairr
Important associated figuresSaint Comgán
Heritage designationNational Monument
StyleIrish monastic, Romanesque
LocationKilleshin, County Laois
Coordinates52°50′51″N 7°00′05″W / 52.84738°N 7.00151°W / 52.84738; -7.00151
Visible remainsPart of church (west and east gables; part of north elevation)
Public accessyes


Killeshin Church is located near Killeshin village, on the south bank of the Fushoge River (a tributary of the Barrow), about 5 km (3 mi) west of Carlow town. A ringfort, known as Killeshin moat, stands to the southeast.


A monastery was founded on the site c. AD 545 by Diarmait mac Siabairr, a member of the local Uí Bairrche ruling family.[1]

The monastery was plundered by Diarmait mac Máel na mBó in 1041; the dairthech (oak prayer house) was demolished, a hundred people taken away as slaves and 700 cattle also seized. This attack was a retaliation against the burning of Ferns by Murchadh mac Dunlaing and the murder of Domnall Remar (Donal the Fat, Diarmait's brother).[2] Killeshin was burned again in 1077, along with its yew trees.

None of this original monastery survives; a round tower once stood there but was torn down by the landowner in 1704.[3]

The buildingsEdit

The church, built in the 12th century AD (probably in 1150–60),[4] is built of rubble masonry with dressed quoins and is particularly noted for its Romanesque archway, zoomorphic carvings and Scandinavian-influenced knotwork. There is also a granite font.

An inscription near the door reads ORAIT DO DIARMAIT RI LAGEN, Middle Irish for "a prayer for Diarmait, king of Leinster", referring to Diarmait Mac Murchada (r. 1126–71).


  1. ^ ""The Founding of Killeshin"".
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "The Romanesque church at Killeshin, Co. Laois, near Carlow".
  4. ^ Colm (2 November 2014). "The wonderful 12th century R omanesque doorway at Killeshin, Laois - Irish Archaeology".