The earliest remains of the Franciscan friary at Ennis (Inis) date to the late 13th century, although much of the building actually comes from the second half of the 15th century. Founded around 1285 under the royal patronage of the O’Briens, Lords of Thomond, the friary soon became a burial site for kings and earls, and the town of Ennis grew up around it. By 1617, only one friar remained.
The site was undergoing a major reconstruction project while we were there, and relatively little of the decoration was in situ. Even so, Ennis possesses a number of fine examples of Irish Renaissance relief sculpture in its interior and decorated gravestones in its cemetery.