Killinaboy Church, Clare, Ireland

The church at Killinaboy is believed to be a late medieval rebuild of a earlier 12th century church and round tower. The name Killinaboy is derived from the Irish  Cill Iníne Baoith,  meaning “Church of Baoith’s daughter, Iníne” who is reputed to be the founder of the original convent at Killinaboy. This convent was established by Iníne (also known as Inghean) around 540AD. What sets Killinaboy apart from other early ecclesiastical structures was the female centric nature of the site. It is believed that Inghean had around fifty female acolytes who lived with her and studied a goddess based spirituality which was wiped out by the 12th century when the church structures became a lot more patriarchal and Inghean became known as St Inghine, still quite an important person throughout the history of the local area with at least eighteen holy wells dedicated to her. Some historians have linked Inghean to the story of St Birgit of Kildare. A Sheela-na-Gig stands above the main entrance to the church and its said throughout the years, right up into the 1960s, many woman came here who were having trouble conceiving in hopes that Inghean would assist. The church has some very other interesting features, one which I overlooked on the day but can be seen in two of my pictures (no.16&17), this being a large cross known as a Lorraine Cross built into the actual wall structure of the west gable. The inside of the church is home to many graves dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, one with a beautiful primitive crucifixion carving, so we can ascertain the church may have fallen into disrepair as early as the 16th century. All that remains of the 11th century round tower is a small stump, giving only a slight indication of the grandeur that Killinaboy must have possessed at its height.

GPS: 52.97028, -9.08549

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