The Medieval Church and Tower House at Ardcrony, near Nenagh, Co. Tipperary

View of the Tower House at Ardcrony, Co. Tipperary.

Situated on the N52 Nenagh to Borrisokane road about midway between the two towns is the town of Ardcrony with its Church and Tower House. The site can be found just a few hundred metres down the minor road that leads east to Coolderry at the Catholic church in the centre of the town.

Ardcrony is the site of an early Medieval religious site that was patronised by the local O'hOgain (O’Hogan) sept. The O'hOgains were descended from Cosgrach second son of Lorcan King of Thomond who died in 942 AD, and were chiefs of the territory Crioch Cian and had their seat at Ardcrony. At some point in the Medieval period Ardcrony became a manor belonging to the Bishop of Killaloe and the O'hOgain family continued as the hereditary erenachs, or chiefs, of the manor. The erenachs enjoyed semi-clerical status and four members of the family became Bishops of Killaloe, Mathgamin O'hOgain (1268-1281), Mauricius O'hOgain (1282-1298), Tomas O'hOgain (1343-1354) and Richard O’Hogan 1525-38. In 1598 the death of Ogan O’Hogan was recorded in the Annals of the Four Masters:

“Ogan, the son of John, son of Melaghlin O'h-Ogain of Ard-Croine, died in the spring of this year.”

View of the Church and ogee-headed window at Ardcrony, Co. Tipperary.

The churchyard at Ardcrony is unusual as it contains both a Medieval church and a Tower House. The church was originally a single cell, there is a single window in the south wall which probably dates to the twelfth century. It was rebuilt in the sixteenth century and divided into a nave and chancel church with the addition of a chancel arch and an ogee-headed window. The Tower House, which was the home of the O’hOgains, is four storeys high and is connected to the church by a bawn wall. The west wall has collapsed which allows a view of the interior floors of the tower including the spiral staircase and internal vault on the ground floor which was constructed to make the upper floors fireproof. Most of the windows have been removed leaving gaps but some original stonework can be seen in the south and east walls. Above the third floor is a bartizan, a type of projecting turret, supported on corbels one of which has a human head.

View Ardcrony, Co. Tipperary in a larger map

GPS coordinates 52.934569,-8.155289

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