Temple M'Dermot, Clonmacnoise

"From the little oratory of St. Kieran, the woman led us on to the largest of the ruined churches, which, after all, is of no great size; but still it is the most remarkable of any, not only for its greater size, but for the beauty of its western entrance, and the exquisite and elaborate workmanship of its northern doorway. This church is said to have been originally erected by the M'Dermots, princes of the northern parts of Roscommon; a tablet on the wall, near the eastern window, records that it was repaired in 1647, by M'Coghlan, the lord of the adjoining territories.

Entrance doorway of Temple M'Dermot, Clonmacnoise

Entrance doorway of Temple McDurmot, Clonmacnoise

"Whether the northern doorway into this church existed prior to the repairs of M'Coghlan, or whether executed by his direction, I am not competent to decide; but I am induced to believe that it was constructed in a more auspicious day of taste in Gothic architecture in Ireland. It is executed in blue limestone, marble it may well be called, and the elaborate tracery, on which the whole fancy and vagary of Gothic license is lavished, stands forth as sharp, fresh, and clean, as if but yesterday from under the chisel.

"Amongst the other ornaments of this highly-finished doorway are figures in alto-relievo—one evidently of a bishop giving his blessing, the other of an abbot; the third figure is much mutilated, and that apparently done on purpose.