clerics, Norman tombs & beautiful medieval carvings

This national monument is St Mary’s Church located in the village of Gowran in County Kilkenny. The church was served by a college of clerics who lived in a community but who did not submit to the rule of a monastery. They lived in a house, now destroyed, beside the church. The church was a large and elaborate structure with a long chancel. The tower was added for defense in the late middle ages and was eventually incorporated into the 19th-century parish church. There are a number of interesting carved effigies and tombstones preserved in the tower including two 14th century effigies of a man and woman who are probably James Butler, the first Earl of Ormond, and Lady Eleanor de Bohun. Other important artifacts include a 13th-century effigy of a priest, a 16th-century altar tomb of the Butlers, and a cross-inscribed ogham stone.