Clonfert Cathedral, Co Galway.


In the existing Cathedral there is a Mermaid on a pillar to the right, near the altar and dated as 15th century. This is probably a reminder of the voyage of St. Brendan, when he sailed to America.

This used to be a university city housing up to 3000 pupils in the 16th century but it lost it’s status to Trinity College, Dublin by order of QE 1. It went into decline after that and all that’s left is the Cathedral.

The sheela in question was on Clonfert Abbey, of which there is no sign, so I assume it ended up as building material in an area short of suitable stone. The Abbeylands are east of here if you wish to spend time sloshing about the fields and bogs.

The other mermaid is in Kilcooley Cistercian Abbey, 10k south of Urlingford. It’s becoming a habit!

Last modified 8 October 2015
Condition Missing
Lat/Long 53.2405663,-8.0588923



O.S. Map No. 47

Grid Reference No. M 962/212

Holiday Map East

22k SW of Athlone and 4k S of Shannonbridge