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Heritage Ireland

St. Mary’s Church Gowran

Records written in stone in the heart of Gowran

See all opening times

St. Mary’s Church Gowran

Records written in stone in the heart of Gowran

See all opening times

Site Closed


Free admission

Getting here

Co. Kilkenny
R95 CV0Y

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St. Mary’s Church Gowran

This church was built in the late thirteenth century as a collegiate church and was served by a college - clerics who lived in a community but did not submit to the rule of a monastery.

The church was patronised by the Butler family and many early family members are commemorated here with elaborate medieval tombs. The impressive ruins were decorated by the Gowran Master whose stone carvings are immortalised in the poetry of Nobel Laureate Séamus Heaney.

The once medieval church was later partly reconstructed in the early 19th century and functioned as a Church of Ireland church until the 1970’s when it was gifted to the State as a National Monument. Today the restored part of the church preserves a collection of monuments dating from the 5th to the 20th centuries.

Take a free in-depth tour in the company of one of the church’s famously engaging guides.

Opening Times

11 May – 30 August 2023

10:00 – 17:30

Wednesday – Sunday

Last admission 45 minutes before closing.

Average Length of Visit: 45 Minutes.


Restricted access for visitors with disabilities.


Co. Kilkenny
R95 CV0Y

056 772 6894 (During open season) 056 772 4623 (During closed season)

Getting Here

Located in the centre of Gowran town. Follow the R448 from Carlow south towards Thomastown.

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  • AV presentation
  • Exhibition
  • Guided tours


  • Appropriate footwear
  • Assistance dogs only
  • Limited Access
  • No climbing

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