During a recent Walk With Me motor tour to Counties Galway and Mayo, Ray and his group from New Jersey, USA visited the ruins of Ross Errilly Franciscan Friary. The Friary founded in 1351 and enlarged in the year 1498 to become one of the largest Franciscan foundations in Ireland and is today considered to be the best preserved in the country.
The Friary is located just a couple of miles from the Galway town of Headford and is well worth a visit when journeying from Galway to Mayo. The building is an excellent example of what life was like for Franciscan monks in the Middle Ages. What remains is well preserved including The Cloister for meditating, The Church for prayers and service and the domestic buildings for cooking, eating and sleeping and has all the requirements of what was needed for a perfectly equipped Mediaeval Monastery.
The Church and Bell Tower are to one side of the central Cloister and the domestic buildings are located to the other side. The kitchen area continues to feature the oven and a water tank for the storage of live fish. You can still observe the Refectory or Dining area where the Brothers had their meals. The dormitories or cells where the Monks slept are on the upper levels.
The Monks of Ross Errilly were expelled seven times, once by Cromwell soldiers in 1656 but each time they returned. They finally abandoned the Friary in 1753 and the buildings fell into ruin.
Most of these features, whilst from a time long past, are perfectly preserved and open to visitors. This is not a fee paying attraction but visitors should at all times respect the integrity of the ruins that will be there into the future for the generations coming after us.
Ross Errilly Friary is a National Monument and in the care of the Commissioners of Public Works and protected by the National Monuments Act. It is certainly a part of hidden Ireland that is, to a large extent, off the beaten path and rarely visited.
When booking your Ireland adventure with Walk With Me Tours, be sure and get Ray or Mary to include Ross Errilly Franciscan Friary in your itinerary. You can send an enquiry to Ray and Mary here and they will reply by return with touring suggestions and recommendations.