Thursday, 10 December 2015
Old Clonmantagh Church Co Kilkenny
from the Church
There are few records regarding this larger than usual local medieval church. It is thought to have been constructed as early as the twelfth century and is adjacent to a later fifteenth century Butler tower stronghold which was restored in recent years and so is technically no longer a ruin. The farmhouse nestled at its base is now a B&B.
The church ruins stand within a trapezoidal stone enclosure with access through a twin pillared gate in the Southern wall. A clutter of gravestones are positioned mostly on its West, Northern and Southern sides with some dating back to the mid eighteenth century. The Western gable has an extended twin bellcote with one side partially crumbled away. The interior side of the tower gable shows evidence of the former apex roof. The Eastern gable though a bit ragged still stands to its full height and contains two long narrow windows. The church has somewhat sunk in to the ground so that the entrance in the Southern wall is now a smaller aperture but there is a larger aperture in the North wall. The view out from within the walls through this aperture perfectly frames the nearby castle tower. No graves have been placed within the Church and so the ground is grassy and uneven underfoot. I like the overall aspect of this Church as it has pleasing lines to the eye. While taking a photo outside of the Eastern gable something dashed through the section with longer grass near the enclosure wall. I decided in my mind that it was a rabbit or a hare but it could easily have been something nastier like a rat. I stuck to the shorter grass after that.
Well worth a stop to view as access is so easy and in an area that is well stocked with ruins. We also visited on the same day Urlingford Chuch & Castle (see post here) and Three Castles Church & Castle (see post here)
To find the ruins of Clonmantagh take the R693 heading West from Freshford towards Urlingford and drive for approx. 6.5KM You will eventually spot the ruins on your right hand side. You can park directly across the road in the hard shoulder. Be careful crossing though as this is a long straight country road and traffic tends to approach often and at speed.