The monastery of Clonmacnoise is situated in County Offaly, Ireland on the River Shannon south of Athlone. Clonmacnoise was founded in 544 by St. Ciarán, a young man from Rathcroghan, Co. Roscommon. is one of Ireland’s most important ancient monastic cities. The site is enclosed in a walled field and contains numerous early churches, high crosses, round towers and graves in astonishingly good condition. The surrounding marshy area is known as the Shannon Callows, home to many wild plants and one of the last refuges of the seriously endangered corncrake (a pastel-coloured relative of the coot).