St Ciaran (Kieran) was a disciple of St Finnian of Clonard, St Enda and St Senan who founded the great monastery of Clonmacnoise in Co Offaly with ten companions. The site was almost the very centre of island with the east west roadway and the north south waterway of the Shannon. He died after one year as the result of the yellow plague. He us regarded as one of the twelve apostles of Ireland.
On site there is the little 8C ‘house’ where he was probably buried. There are some fine high crosses, on one of which, known as the Cross of the Scriptures, contains a picture of him driving in the foundation stake of the monastery. The monastery became one of the most important centres of learning and religious life in Ireland. It survived many attacks from the Vikings and kept going to the Reformation. There is a holy well. In the museum is picture of what an altar of the time looked like.