Some 10km southeast of Ennis, on the R469, the ruined friary at Quin occupies a glorious pastoral setting. Unusually, the original building incorporated parts of a castle, built by Thomas de Clare in the late thirteenth century, which was subsequently attacked by the Irish, leaving it “a hideous, blackened cave” according to one contemporary observer. In the 1430s the MacNamaras brought Franciscans to Quin to found the friary and used the ruins of the old castle as a base, constructing a remarkable edifice in the process, including a striking colonnaded cloister and a tall, trim tower. The friary was dissolved in 1541, but the friars returned after the death of Elizabeth I, only to be expelled again a few years later.

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