St Finghin’s Church, Clare, Ireland

St Finghin’s 13th century church stands a short distance across the Rine River from Quin Friary. The church was built by Richard de Clare between 1278 and 1287. At this time de Clare also built a castle on the site of the Friary, some parts of which were incorporated into the Friary, founded in 1433. St Finghin is an early Irish Saint whose history is long forgotten. The initial church didn’t last too long, it was burned in 1279 when de Clare’s castle was also attacked by the Ó Briain clan, the ‘Annals of Loch Cé’ mention Donnchadh ó Briain’s attack, ‘they burned the church of Cuinche over the heads of his people, and caused an indescribable destruction of them, both by burning and killing’. The church is a simple rectangle in plan but with the later addition of a modest but charming 15th century bell tower at the south-western corner. The triple lancet east window is one of the buildings finer points. It is not clear when St Finghin’s finally fell to ruin, it is most certainly worth the small stroll across the modern footbridge from Quin Friary.

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