Thursday, 19 April 2012

St John The Baptist Church Clontarf Co Dublin


                                         Above Image: A View from outside






                     Above Image: A view that may have stoked Bram's imagination?





                                          Above Image: The entrance gate


This interesting ruin lies just off Castle Avenue in Clontarf. This was originally an ancient monastic site but this current structure was constructed in 1609 and dedicated to St John the Baptist. It was in use serving the Anglican community of the parish until 1866 when a much grander Church was built on Seafield Rd to replace it. Although surrounded by a cemetery, it over the years fell into ruin, but what remains is in kept in good order. On it's western face the wall extends higher to form a bell tower. This tower of sorts dominates the skyline as you walk around the Church.
We sought out this ruin not only because it was quite striking but also as an interesting aside, author Bram Stoker was actually baptised here in December 1847.
In a lot of cases these type of walled graveyards tend to remain locked by local authorities to avoid any vandalism or antisocial gatherings but in this case the gate remains open during reasonable hours.
A decorative arched gate leads you into the grounds immediately giving you a good side view of the Church.
As we circled the ruin we noticed that the entrances and windows were blocked by black bars and so were surprised to find a small open gate on the southern facing wall. This led us into the nave of the Church. It was quite large inside having served it's many parishioners for over 250 years. there is a raised area alongside part of the Northern part of the nave which was illuminated by a large window.
As usual we found our visit undisturbed by anyone even though this is a more suburban setting. The light that day captured the ruins quite well I think and made the visit even more worthwhile.
To find the Church ruins, take the M50 Northbound and take exit 3 for the Dublin Port Tunnel. Exit before the tunnel onto the R104 and drive until you reach the junction with the R107 Malahide Rd. Turn Right. Continue until you reach the crossroads with the R103 and turn left onto Collins Avenue East. At the bottom of this road is a T-Junction with the R105. Turn left and then take the 2nd turn right onto Castle Avenue. You will find the Church entrance on your right hand side about 1km down this Rd. Parking is possible along Seafield Rd west opposite.

18 comments:

  1. Great cemetery site. Keep a watch for the front gate at least 1/2 hour till closing. Someone made a quick walk through when we were there, pretty sure he made eye contact with us, but we didn't see him leave. When we got back to the gate, it was chained. We had to climb the lower part of the front wall and drop down to get out.

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    1. Hi Anthony Glad you made it over the wall. The guy you spotted was probably a council worker there to lock up. Strange that he didn't warn you in advance. Yes it really is an atmpspheric site

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    2. The cemetery is now being tidied up by Mícheál and Anthony and is looking much better.
      DCC are assisting by removing the cuttings and rubbish.
      It's now a very pleasant place to ealk around and will be even lovlier when the daffodils come out.

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    3. How wonderful. In 2019 we explored this lovely churchyard looking for the burial place of an ancestor. It has a beautiful atmosphere despite the wildness and it is good to know it is being loved and cared for. Maybe if ever we can visit again we will find the grave. The ruins of the church are very emotional. Sadly the plaque commemorating him was broken when it was being moved to the new church down the road.

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  2. Are the grave stones and momuments well preserved. An ancestor is buried there

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  3. and would like to see his grave

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    1. There are a lot of graves here. Some are more recent but there are a lot of older ones in reasonable shape. it would be worth a visit.

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    2. Thank you. Looks like I need to organise a trip to Ireland then

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  4. I believe Bram Stoker was baptized at the Church of Ireland that was dedicated to St. John the Baptist which is on Seafield Rd W.

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  5. Clarke, there's a site with photos of all, or most, of the headstones there. findagrave.com
    Just enter the surname. Hope you find it :)

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  6. 35 of my ancesters are buried here and I found their names and date of deaths on the following website http://databases.dublincity.ie/cemeteries/search.php.
    Hope this helps anyone looking here.

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  7. My ancestor surname is Bourchier died 1716

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  8. I walked past at around 8.30 this evening it was pitch dark but the little gate was half open. So I went in. I stopped after maybe 3 yards and noticed what seemed to be a red lamp glowing maybe 10 or 12 yards away on my right. I was torn as to whether I should go towards the glow or not, but I had never been there before in daylight so not familiar with the layout and I chickened out.

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  9. If red light was elsewhere you would have gone in methinks

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  10. If red light was elsewhere you would have gone in methinks

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