Church and Sheela-na-gig

The church at Killinaboy is believed to be a late medieval rebuild of a earlier 13th century church. The name Killinaboy is derived from the Irish Cill Iníne Baoith, meaning "Church of Baoith's daughter" who is reputed to be the founder of the original monastery here. The most striking feature of the church is the double barred Cross of Lorraine that is built into the west gable. The Cross of Lorraine was a form or shape of reliquary used in Central Europe to enshrine fragments of the true Cross. The first relic of the true cross in Ireland was enshrined in the Cross of Cong which dates to the early 12th century. Further fragments of the cross appeared in Ireland after that date. Harbison has suggested that the cross integrated into the west gable may imitate a reliquary of the true cross that may have been kept in Killinaboy church around the 13th century.

The north and west walls of the 19.20 metre long church are probably 13th century and the East window is much later. Above the doorway in the south wall is a fine example of a sheela-na-gig, see below. To the north of the altar is a 15th century ambry. To the north of the church is the stump of an 11th century round tower.

A tomb niche in the south wall has a carving of a crucifixion scene dated to 1644. Above the carving are the letters, I.H.S., I.N.R.I, 1644. And the inscrition in raised letters below it reads; UNDER THESE CARVIED MARBEL STONES LIETH CONNOR OFLANAGANS BODY AND BONES WHICH MONUMENT WAS MADE BY ANABEL HIS WIFE. ORATE PRO EIS LAUS DEO. There is a plain tomb niche in the north wall. There is also 13th/14th century graveslab in the southwest corner of the graveyard, which I missed on this trip, it bears an inscribed tau cross.


This excellent sheela stands just above the late medieval entrance in the south wall. There are traces of incised ribs on the sheela's right hand side. Her hands appear to meet just above the vulva. Local tradition believes it represents the first abbess and founder of the monastery Inline Bait. Ballyvourney in Cork is another church where a sheela is thought to represent the local saint associated with the church. Just inside the doorway is a carving from the romanesque period.

Situated: From Corrofin travel north on the R476 for 3.5 kilometers. The church is on the right. There is parking on the right beyond the church.

Discovery Map 51: R2707 9160. Last visit July 2014.

Longitude: 9° 5' 8" W

Latitude: 52° 58' 13" N

Goggle Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

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