Kilfane Church, Kilkenny, Ireland

Kilfane Church is a 13th century church and castellated tower house most known for the Cantwell Fada, a two metre carved limestone effigy of a 14th century knight. The church was built by the Cantwell family who were the Lords of Kilfane and adjoining areas shortly after the Norman conquest of Ireland. The church is a long rectangler structure with some very attractive original features such as the sedilia, altar and piscina. There are also three original doorways all headed by carved ogee stones. Attached to the church is a three story castellated tower house, which may have housed the sacristy, bell tower and also provided living space on its upper stories. The Cantwell Fada is a remarkable well preserved effigy of a knight from the 1320s/30s. It is believed to represent Thomas de Cantwell who died in 1319, an adventurer who became Lord of Kilfane. The effigy is carved from a single slab of limestone, it shows a knight wearing a metal skull-cap and with chainmail protecting his torso as far as his knees. There are prominent spurs on his feet which shows he fought on horseback. His legs are crossed, right left over leg, this has sometimes been said to represent having taken part in the Crusades but it is now considered a possible conventional style at the time. The knight carries a large shield in his left hand bearing the arms of the Cantwell family. Kilfane Church is a close distance to Thomastown in County Kilkenny and a short laneway leads to it from a local road lending itself towards a very peaceful and enjoyable visit, much recommended.

GPS: 52.55417, -7.11822

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