This is a preprint

The building history of the cathedral of Clonfert, Co. Galway, is analysed and the main medieval phases are described and discussed. Particular attention is paid to Phase 5, dating to the fifteenth century, and the suggestion is made that these major works were carried out under bishop Cornelius Ó Cuinnlis with patronage from the fourth earl of Ormond, a major patron of church architecture including, as is claimed here, the famous Jerpoint cloister arcade. It is argued that the chancel at Clonfert was added to the building during this phase and that its fine early-thirteenth-century double east window was dismantled from its original position at the east end of what was until then a simple rectangular church and reassembled in its present position. Reassembly marks, extremely rare if not unique survivals in Ireland, were used in this process. It is also suggested that a room above the sacristy may have served as an anchorhold.


Medieval architecture, building analysis, Irish ecclesiastical history, ecclesiastical patronage