Sundials in Ireland

Medieval Sundials


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Although later than the Ancient Monastic dials, medieval dials are generally less well executed. Geometrically drawn, they are usually circular or semicircular in shape, with a hole in the centre to accommodate a gnomon (the shadow casting pin). Examples have been found in abbeys and large monasteries carved into the building fabric and also being re-used as grave markers in old burial grounds.

Scratch dials (also known as mass dials) are a rather basic form of sundial which were crudely scored into south facing stonework of village churches near the entrance door. Delineated, probably empirically, to show some form of unequal hours, they are event markers rather than true time keepers. While common in England where thousands of examples are known, they are extremely rare in Ireland probably because of a lack of surviving stone built medieval churches.

Click on Link below
for Dial details and photos

Map below shows locations of the known Medieval Sundials

Iona, Scotland










Nendrum Co.Down












Old Mellifont Abbey Co.Louth
Kilbeg Co.Meath
Kells Co.Meath
Donaghpatrick Co.Meath
Bremore Co.Dublin




Iniscealtra Co.Clare



Askeaton Co.Limerick




Cloghane Co.Kerry

Muckross Co.Kerry


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