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Visit sites on the life of St. Finian

Clonard was once the site of an ancient monastery. It was so important that it was next only to Rome. It was founded in the 5th. Century by St. Finian. Why not read on and find out more.

  Visit the Clonard Treasures S.I.P. Project


St. Finian instructs the twelve Apostles of Ireland. St. Finian returns from the Sea.

These images are taken from the stained glass windows of Saint Finian's Church Clonard.



Clonard itself was in early Christian time the site of an Ancient monastery founded by St. Finian in the 6th century.There was a monastery here right up to the 12th century. The religious house of Clonard was an important monastic centre in the midlands under the Native Reform. It was constituted a See and the chief Bishopric of the Diocese, but following the Anglo Norman takeover, the See was transformed to Newtown -Trim where there was an Augustinian house founded by the De Lacys.

During the 12th century, according to the Commissioners Reports, there was a church, cemetery, belfry, and hall, all in a state of decay.

Subsequently the whole property was taken over by Sir William Birmingham of Dunfierth and by the 1700's the whole place was crumbled

to ruin . During the 1800' s a thorough clearance resulted in the disappearance of all but a carved corbel and the large and splendidly decorated font which was moved from St.Finian's Church of Ireland to St.Finian's Catholic Church Clonard.

The Medieval Octagonal font.


The font is octagonal with deeply chamfered under panels

and stands on octagonal base which in turn is supported on

a modern base. All of the panels on the font

and base are richly decorated, with the most significant representation being that of the Flight into Egypt, which fills one entire rectangular panel. Here the Blessed Virgin is seen sitting side-saddle on a clearly defined pony and wearing a full length dress. In her arm is the child Jesus who although large enough to be a child rather than an infant is wearing swaddling bands. St. Joseph is leading the animal forth, grasping the reins in his right hand, and propelling himself forward with the aid of a sturdy walking stick in his left hand. Another significant representation is that of the Baptism of Christ which is framed in an elliptical arch. Other features include the angels and plants, all remarkably well-defined. It was obviously an expensive piece of work to execute, and this points to the benefaction of a wealthy donor.It was probably executed at the turn of the 15th or 16th centuries. Due to the imminent closure of St.Finian's Church of Ireland, it was transferred courtesy of the Boards of Works in 1991.The font was installed in a vacant apse area behind the altar . An Ecumenical service of Thanksgiving was held on the 19th January 1992, in the presence of Mgr.Eamonn Marron P.P., Rev. Frederic Gilmor, Rector,together with a large representation of the faithful of both Churches. St.Finian's well is located about a mile north of the townland of Clonard and local tradition has it that St. Finian bestowed a blessing on the people of Clonard that nobody from the area would ever be killed by lightning.