Ardfert Cathedral was built between the 12th and 17th centuries on the site of St Brendan the Navigator's 6th-century monastic foundation. This romantic ruin now managed by Heritage Ireland retains much from those years. The site contains the cathedral, the fragment of a much older building to the north-west and two small churches. Especially impressive are the Romanesque west doorway, the 13th-century east window, and a beautiful row of nine lancet windows in the south wall. The Romanesque doorway and blind arcade in the west wall are the only remaining fragments of the early structure prior to the present cathedral. Two effigies of ecclesiastical figures of the late 13th or early 14th century period are mounted on either side of the east window.
The site has three medieval church ruins, the earliest building being from the 12th century, with additions made in the 15th century when a small transept was added and battlements were constructed, an ogham stone and a number of early Christian and medieval grave slabs. The cathedral roof was destroyed during the Irish Rebellion of 1641, but the south transept was re-roofed and extended later in the 17th century when it was converted into a Protestant Church. In 1871, when a new Protestant church was opened, the roof was again removed.
To the north-west of the cathedral is Temple-na-Hoe (Church of the Virgin), a late 12th century Romanesque church, whose chancel has now disappeared. It contains some late Romanesque carvings and the unusual feature of three-quarter columns with carved capitals at each corner of the nave with heads and bird motifs on the capitals.
Further to the north-west is a 15th century single-chamber church, Temple-na-Griffin, after the carvings of two intertwined griffins inside the windows of the north wall.
Now the Cathedral is a historical monument managed by the Office of Public Works, with a visitors centre with informative, imaginatively prepared information panels on history of the cathedral, Ardfert and St Brendan. Major conservation and consolidation works have been undertaken at Ardfert in a number of phases since 1982. The restoration of the South Transept was completed in 1994.
More about Monastic Sites in Ireland you will find HERE.
Open Easter (1st - 7th April) Daily 10.00-18.00
April 29th - September 29th Daily 10.00-18.00
Tel.: +353 (0) 66 7134711
Visitor Centre, Toilets, Car Park, Audio-Visual
Abbeydorney (Kyrie Eleison) Abbey, Cistercian within 6.9 km
Ardfert Franciscan Friary within 0.5 km
Ballybunion Castle Ruins within 21.6 km
Ballymalis Castle Ruins within 27.8 km
Blennerville Windmill within 8.5 km
Fenit Castle Ruins within 7 km
Fenit Lighthouse, Samphire Island within 9.4 km
Kilcredaun Head Lighthouse within 28.3 km
Killagha / Kilcolman / Kilcoleman Augustinian Abbey, Milltown within 20.2 km
Listowel Castle within 23.3 km
Loop Head Lighthouse within 27.8 km
Rattoo Round Tower and Church Ruins within 15.5 km
The Lartigue Monorailway, Listowel within 24 km
Billeragh House Hostel within 21.1 km
Castle Hostel, Tralee within 8.6 km
Dingle Gate Holiday Hostel and Camping, Dingle Peninsula within 25.2 km
Finnegan's Hostel, Tralee within 8.5 km
Fitzgerald's Euro Hostel, Castlegregory, Dingle Peninsula within 18.2 km
Laune Valley Farm Hostel and Camping within 24.1 km
Mount Brandon Hostel, Cloghane, Dingle Peninsula within 29.2 km
Paddy's Palace Hostel, Annascaul, Dingle Peninsula within 26.8 km