Clonmacnoise is located on the banks of the River Shannon in County Offaly.
It was founded in the 6th century by St Ciarán, making it one of the earliest monastic sites in Ireland.
The location of Clonmacnoise is a great indicator of its importance as it is situated on both the largest river on the island, and the Esker Riada, a natural raised ridge spanning several counties. It was created by glaciation and served as something of a highway in the Ireland of days gone by. The monks of Clonmacnoise was renowned for their artistic skill and religious knowledge. Their patrons were some of the most powerful people in the country, with two High Kings choosing to be buried at the monastery.
During the 8th century, Clonmacnoise saw an intense period of growth. By the High Medieval period it was considered something of a Monastic City. Though the accessible nature of its location allowed for the site's popularity as a place of prayer to pilgrimage to grow, it also meant that the monks at Clonmacnoise were highly prone to attack from raiders and rival monasteries.
The buildings which have survived to the modern day include two Round Towers, seven Churches, a Cathedral, and three High Crosses to name but a few.
Today Clonmacnoise is under the protection of the OPW and is open to the public for tours. There is also a modern and informative visitor centre located on site.
There are a number of my potential ancestors buried in Clonmacnoise, including James Condron (1798-1872) and his second wife, Margaretl Couglin (1814-1874), and four of their children, Thomas, Mary Elllen, Margaret and James; John Devry (1814-1856) his wife, Eliza (1818-1871), William Temple (1807-1881) and his wife, Margaret (1832-1866). and two of their children, William (1908-1934) and Lawrence Temple.(1918-1948).