Sundials in Ireland - Ancient Monastic Dials

Clone Co. Wexford


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The ancient vertical stone sundial (inside the red circle) in the ruins of the 12thc. Clone Church, is the only remnant of the ancient monastery which preceded the church at this site.


FROM AUGUST 2011 THE CHURCH HAS BEEN FENCED OFF AND IS INACCESSIBLE. THE ANCIENT SUNDIAL IS BEING STORED AT TINTERN ABBEY UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

UPDATE June 2018 Ferns Heritage Archive Group have anounced plans to conserve Clone Church. More info later as it becomes available   MJH




Drone photo by Dinny Kinsella


UPDATE September 2018: The following article and photo to the left has appeared in the local Wexford papers   MJH


The Ferns Heritage Archive Group is currently doing a lot of work at the ancient Clone church site and upon examining the area with a drone, local archaeologist Barry Lacey was delighted to discover what could be evidence of an early monastic settlement. ‘There are multiple linear and curved features and which extend into the neighbouring field’ he explained. ‘These are likely the remains of dug features i.e. ditches or pits. The most noticeable features in the field are the two parallel lines running adjacent to the church. They appear in the overgrowth from behind it and travel towards the road were they appear to curve and disappear. Interestingly at this point the boundary between the road and field is also curved and may suggest it once formed part of the same feature. This feature is likely a monastic enclosure, a common feature of early monasteries with a majority dating from before 800AD. It’s exciting because the church ruins in Clone are from the 12th century and it has always been thought an early monastery associated with St. Aidan existed on the site and this discovery gives that theory much stronger credit’


100Kb Photo







The 300mm wide by 100mm thick "stem" of the sundial rises 950mm above ground. It branches out into a 500mm diameter semi-circular "bowl" shaped head with a 200mm diameter semi-circular projection on the top. There are twelve timelines and nothing remains of the gnomon but the hole where a gnomon would have fitted. The function of the second hole in the top projection is a matter of conjecture.





100Kb Photo

The end of the sundial shaft (see opposite), which was buried in the ground at Clone, is now visible at Tintern Abbey and had been shaped to fit into a socketed stone in much the same way as the High Crosses were (see below).


Socket stone at Kells, Co. Meath




Drawing by the Geologist/Antiquarian/Artist George V.Du Noyer 16th June 1862.

In addition to the detailed dimensions, notes on the drawing read   "Ancient Sun dial from the bank of the stream 200ft ESE of the old church of Clone Co. Wexford. Sheet 15/4"   "1½miles Southeast of Ferns"   "Back. This part of the stone beveled"   "Holes perforate the stone .....an 1½ inch apart. the lower hole slopes upwards"    "Slab of grey cist 4” thick"


Arriving in Ferns on the N11, turn onto Station Road and then take the first right.
Drive 1.3 kilometres and take the 2nd right onto Clone Road. The church is a further 800 metres in a large field on the left.

Irish National Monument No. 665

British Sundial Society SR No 4220

Lat 52° 34' North    Long 6° 30' West

IRISH GRID    T  301430   147350


If you know the location of a sundial in Ireland (NOT a mass produced DIY Store garden ornament) please email it to me (Click here to email M.J.Harley) - a member of British Sundial Society
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