The Centre is based at the 10th century St. Cronan’s Church in Tuamgraney, which it refurbished for use as a Heritage Centre in the early 1990s. It offers extensive information on the East Clare area’s historical past.
The community-based centre has published a number of historical journals and other publications. It has also undertaken restoration projects in the area.
The church where the Centre is located, St Cronan’s Church, was founded by St Cronan, who was abbot of Clonmacnoise. It has close links to Brian Boru, the legendary High King of Ireland, who defeated the Danes in the famous Battle of Clontarf in 1014.
The Annals of the Four Masters records that ‘In 1012 Brian Boroimhe [Brian Boru] repaired the church of Túaim Gréine and its cloigteach at this time’. Local tradition suggests that Brian was a frequent visitor to the ancient church since his childhood.
This folklore and the fact that Brian’s brother Marcán was abbot of the monastery in Tuamgraney further illustrate the links between this historic building and the High King.
As you walk through the doorway of the church today, which remains unaltered since it was built c 950 AD, you are, in fact, literally walking in the footsteps of the great Brian!
On your visit, cast your mind back too to the year 969, when the western portion of the church, with its lintelled doorway, is said to have been rebuilt by the Abbot Cormac O Killeen.
Another notable feature of St. Cronan’s Church is that its continued use today by the Church of Ireland community makes it the oldest church in Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales still in use.