Wednesday, 21 November 2018
Old Knocktopher Church Co Kilkenny
We found this very interesting ruin on the same day we visited Aghaviller (see earlier post here) and Old Sheepstown church (see post here). All three sites were very close to each other.
The ruins at Knocktopher are all that remain of the medieval parish church built on the lands belonging to the Canons Regular of St. Augustine.. What is extant today consists of a 13th century tower with a Romanesque doorway, a portion of the North wall showcasing a fine 15th century window, a few parts at foundation level and one tall shard with a box tomb beneath which may be part of the former East wall. The church suffered closure under the dissolution in 1542 and most of it I believe was demolished in the 19th century.
The ruins are now surrounded by a modern an very well kept cemetery. Judging by the scattered remains it must have been a large enough building. the Romanesque doorway in the tower is gated and the vaulted archway beyond contains a 14th century double effigy tomb which doesn't appear to indicate if the internees were persons of note. The archway has also become a sort of storeroom for various stone artifacts some with decorative carvings upon them. We were pleasantly surprised to find the gate unlocked so we could get in and have a closer look. I would suggest if visiting try to also take in the other two sites mentioned earlier.
To find the ruins take the M9 motorway and exit at junction 10. Take the R699 heading East and drive for approx 1.3KM and as you pass through the small village of Knocktopher the road bends to the right. Continue on down this road for approx 250m and you will find the ruins on your right hand side. You can park safely at the gate.