Carran Church, Clare, Ireland

Driving along the approach road to Carran Church it is plain to see how the whitish-grey outer stone wall really accentuates this beautiful structure. The church at Carran was initially built in the 13th century, but much of what can be seen today dates from the 15th. There are many unusual facets to both the architecture of the building and also the folklore that surrounds it. One thing you don’t see too often at a small parish church is the remains of a machicolation, a protruding battlement, in what would have been the upper floor of the church, this would suggest the parish priest felt the need to protect himself from plunder. Perhaps one of the reasons he felt the need for defences was due to Carran’s position serving the largest catholic parish of Clare and the subsequent finances came from parishioners. To the south of the church is a mound of stones, essentially a small cairn, it was common practice to carry coffins around the cairn before burial in the walled churchyard. In T.J Westropp’s book ‘A Folklore Survey of County Clare’ (1913) he shares a common held local belief, “The north-west corner of Carran church overhangs, and is destined to fall on the wisest man that shall pass below it.“, I survived intact somehow! It is uncertain when the church fell into ruin though we do know that by 1837 it was already out of use , as described by Samuel Lewis in ‘County Clare: A History and Topography‘.

GPS: 53.022, -9.13353

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