Ardfert Cathedral

Ardfert Cathedral


Location: County Kerry Map

Tel. 066 773 4711

Open: May- Sept daily

Official site


Ardfert Cathedral is a medieval castle in a Kerry County in Ireland. Ardfert Cathedral was found in the 6th century by Saint Brendan the Navigator. In Ardfert, in the 6th century, a monastery of Brendan was founded for the traveler, about which, however, little is known. At this time, Ardfert was not yet a bishop's seat. Only at the Synod of Rathbreasail in 1111 the diocese was founded in Kerry, based in Ratass, in the vicinity of Ardfert. However, this was only temporary, since the first bishop, Anmchad Ó hAnmchada, was buried in Ardfert in 1117. It is assumed that the back and forth is due to the effects of war conflicts, which led to the destruction of the church in Ardfert in 1089, and that in 1111 no intact Church in Ardfert was available or that Ardfert appeared too insecure.

The building history of the Cathedral extends over several periods. In the north side of the nave there are still remains of the church destroyed in 1089. On the West side, a Romanesque Portal with a blend of arcades has been integrated from a previous construction, the elements of the 1134 built Cormac's Chapel on the Rock of Cashel, took over, and that's why the second half of the 12. Century is to be assigned. in 1152, the first cathedral had already been completed, as it was considered the most beautiful and largest church of the diocese in the Synod of Kells at that time and therefore the most suitable Cathedral.

The actual nave is unusual in its design, as it closely follows the architecture of the Mencians in Ireland and therefore Leask has expressed the presumption that this is due to the Dominican Christian, who was bishop of Ardfert from 1253 to 1256. the characteristic design of the choir room with a long series of nine choir windows on the South Side was then taken over by the nearby Franciscan monastery.

The fortification-like battlements, together with the nave walls, are a complement from the 14th or 15th century. The sacristy at the north-east corner of the choir and the southern transept are also attributable to the 15th century.

Around the middle of the 16th century, the Cathedral of Ardfert became an Anglican Church in the context of the reformation of Henry VIII.


In 1641, during the Rebellion, the cathedral fell victim to a fire. Excavations in 1989 confirmed this with the discovery of a 0.6 m thick ash layer. A reconstruction did not take place because Ardfert had served as the bishop's seat. But in 1670, the southern transept was built to serve as an Anglican Church. this function retained the transept until 1871, after which the roof was removed and it fell like the rest of the cathedral. a little later in the 19th century. In the 17th century, two arches were erected to support the dangerously inclined south wall of the nave. in 1982, restoration work began, during which the transept and a new roof were restored in 1994 and structural improvements made it possible to remove the face arches.