I stumbled across Killone Abbey on GoogleMaps recently when planning some other excursion. Being just a few miles from home, Emily and I nipped over last Sunday afternoon and took a wander through the conker trees and cattle, accompanied by a roll of Kodak Tri-X that needed using up…
The abbey and nearby St.John’s Well sit at the end of a lane and a short walk, a few miles south of Ennis in County Clare. It was an overcast day and the grey of the stone blended with the sky; if I’d used a colour film, the pictures might not have looked too much different.
The sandstone structure here is what remains of the nunnery at Killone Abbey. What I found amazing is that is has been in ruins since at least 1617. That’s 401 years of dad’s taking their toddlers for a visit, in the hope of tiring them out and an early night.
As with many of the old abbeys and friaries that I’ve discovered in my new neighbourhood, it seems that more recent (grave) stones have been laid. Not large enough to have coffins buried beneath, I’m not sure if they’re marking places where ashes were scattered or their urns buried perhaps. One of them commemorated a woman who had drowned in the Lough that the abbey overlooks in the 1950s.
At the edge of the woods, between the abbey and the lough, is a well dedicated to St.John. Alongside it are a full-sized crucifix, a statue of Mary and an alter. For a non-believer like me, it felt a strange and creepy place (although I put on a brave face in front of my daughter).
Places like this in the UK would be expensive to visit and overcrowded. There’d be people in hi-viz coats supervising visitors who’d be kept well clear of the rough edges and narrow staircases in the ruins. Ireland is very different and I’m enjoying that very much.
All pictures were shot on a Leica M6 and using Kodak Tri-X film shot at 400iso. It was processed in Ilford Ilfotec HC for 6:30 and scanned at home. I used both Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 and (on the pictures with the vignetting) Lomography Mintart LC-A lenses.