Thursday, 22 August 2019
At one time there was a medieval church and castle at Burgage More near Blessington in Co. Wicklow. Whereas partial remains of the castle remain (see earlier post here) only small fragments of the church remain. In the 1940's the area was flooded to create a reservoir and so some historical items were removed from the site and relocated to the Burgage cemetery near to Blessington.
Among the items were two early stone crosses. The first known as St Mark's cross or previously St. Boaitin's cross is situated at the Southern boundary wall of the cemetery..Unlike many Celtic style crosses it does not have the quarter piercings in the ring around the arms.It stands approx fourteen feet high and has a weather worn inscription which appears to be in old Gaelic. It is composed of granite and stands tall and slender and appealing to the eye.
The second cross which is a few metres adjacent to the first also has no perforations in the ring and it stands approx four and a half feet high. Similar to St Mark's cross the arms are quite wide but on this cross one of the arms is missing. Apparently local folklore tells of a man who broke off the arm but it fell upon him sinking him permanently into the ground!
The crosses were not the only items saved from Burgage More. Many old gravestones were removed to preserve the memory of those buried there and these were randomly placed in the new cemetery. Amongst these as pictured above is a gravestone marked 1690. This has to be the oldest legible one that I have come across on our travels. On closer inspection it appears to be dated July 14th 1690 as the date of death but only the first four letters of the name are visible and they are WILL.
The cemetery and nearby castle remains are very interesting to visit. As a matter of interest if you leave the cemetery by its main gate and turn left and travel to the second turn left along this road (Troopersfield) in the grounds of a factory near the perimeter fence on the North West corner of the junction is an ancient standing stone. Initially it took a little while to find it but we eventually did. It appears to stand between four and five feet high with a slight tilt.
To find the high crosses take the N81 from Dublin to Blessington. Just past the main street there is a left turn onto Troopersfield (L8858). Turn onto this road and continue for approx 700m and you will see the cemetery on your right. There is a small area to park outside. If you continue on past the cemetery you will eventually reach the the end of the road where a 7 or 8 minute walk will across a field to the shore and Burgage castle
Saturday, 10 August 2019
We came across this nice little ruin on a narrow lane just North West of the picturesque fishing village of Clogherhead in County Louth,
There is not a lot of information available regarding the ruins other than it is known as "Mayne Church" and that it dates from the late medieval period. It is a simple nave and chancel structure and all four walls are standing, The west wall has an extension for a belfry while the East gable has a single large arched window, There are doorways in both the North and South walls.
Within the ruins the space has been used as consecrated burial ground with a number of large grave slabs one of which is a Priest's grave memorial positioned near the West wall and is inscribed to the memory of Reverend James Corigan. It is dated November 23rd 1795. Apparently Faulkner's Dublin Journal in March of 1793 reported that a certain Fr Corigan was thought to be holding weapons in a hay haggard for distribution to locals in the event of a rebellion, Whether this was the same man buried in Mayne we can only speculate,
There aren't many other features within the church apart from a couple of small alcoves in the walls and the presence of a small Motte in the field beyond the Southern boundary wall of the graveyard but it is nonetheless worth a visit to this ruin if in the area.
To find the ruin take the R166 from Drogheda and drive for 8KM to Termonfeckin. Follow the R166 through Termonfeckin until you reach a crossroads the other side of the village. Take the right hand turn for Clogherhead again following the R166. After 5KM you will reach Clogherhead. Follow the R166 through the village and a short distance out of the village you will pass a crossroads with St Michael's Church on your right. Continue straight on passing a local road the L6279 on your left then 250m further there is a narrow lane that leads up to the ruins. You can park outside the entrance gate..
Thursday, 11 July 2019
This fine Cistercian abbey was founded as a result of a storm at sea. The recorded facts are that the then Earl of Pembroke, William Marshall on gaining the title of Lord of Leinster was returning by ship to Ireland when it was caught up in a severe storm, The Earl fearful of losing his life vowed that if he made it safely to land he would found a monastery at his landing point to provide sanctuary for any future travellers who found themselves in trouble, The ship managed to land in Bannow bay and true to his word he established a fine monastery for the Cistercian order in 1200AD on land near the bay. The Earl named the abbey Tintern after the one he was patron to in Wales but to distinguish the two he called the Welsh abbey Tintern Major and the newly established one Tintern De Voto (Tintern of the vow).
A number of monks from Wales were transferred to Ireland to inhabit the new abbey. The abbey remained in use until the dissolution in 1536 when Henry VIII then granted the lands to Anthony Colclough, The Colclough's made renovations to the abbey over the years and in the 1790's turned the huge tower into a residence. This became the Colclough family home until its last resident Lucy Marie Biddulph Colclough turned the estate over to the Irish Government in 1959 and it has been in state care ever since.
When we visited we were really impressed by the huge cruciform shape of the ruins. It is certainly a very imposing edifice. The large South arched window has been renovated and now it stares out over the estate like a huge glass eye. Unfortunately on our visit there had been a recent damaging event and so access to the interior was temporarily prohibited, But this did not deter us from viewing the entire exterior and the attractive grounds. Access is now again possible and you can view the ruins of the nave, chancel, chapel, tower and part of the cloister.
The abbey's opening times are April 2nd to October 28th from 10am to 5pm. Admission to the interior is 4 Euro per adult, 3 Euro for seniors, 2 Euro per child or 10 Euro per family. A guided tour is available.
To find the ruins take the R733 Westwards from Wellington Bridge. After approx 6KM you will see a left hand turn onto the L4041 signposted for the Ring of Hook, Turn left onto the L4041 and after approx 1KM you will see the gates for Tintern abbey on your right. There is ample parking at the end of the drive at the abbey.
Friday, 28 June 2019
This ruin of a medieval parish church lies in the townland of Raheenadeeragh near Athy in Co. Kildare. It is at least 800 years old as it is recorded as being granted to St. Mary's Abbey in 1219AD. Both the East and West gables are virtually non-extant leaving only the North and South walls nearly at their original height. How long it has been ruinous is unclear. It is listed on the 1897 ordnance survey map as being in ruins but on the earlier 1837 version it is listed as church and graveyard.
The ruins are situated in an open graveyard which can be easily accessed by a stile. We found that ground level within the walls which was once the nave and now gravelled was higher than that outside of the walls. There are two doors one in each surviving wall. The Northern doorway has a wooden lintel while the Southern one a rounded arch. The north wall has a topping of ivy but the south wall remains mostly devoid of it.
There are not many features other than what has been mentioned apart from the broken remains of a font which lie in the graveyard. The ruins are certainly worth a look if you happen to be in the area but they are a little off the beaten track,
To find the ruins take the junction 3 exit of the M9 motorway and the the N78 for Athy Once in Athy continue until you cross the river bridge and the take the first turn right onto the R428 for Stradbally.Drive for approx 1.2KM and pass by the right turn for the L8068. Continue for approx. 0.4KM and take the next right hand turn. It is signposted for Churchtown. Drive for approx 3.2KM where the road forks. Take the right hand road and the graveyard is approx 30m on your left. You can park at the boundary wall.
Friday, 24 May 2019
Very little remains now of the medieval parish church in Nobber Co Meath. The name Nobber is derived from the gaelic "An Obair" meaning "The Work". The church was built on a former non-extant monastic site and was dedicated to St John the Baptist. During the middle ages the parish of Nobber thrived but by the 17th century it had slipped into decline and the church was ruinous by 1641.
All that is left standing today but still looking dramatic is the West wall and belfry tower which was added to the church in the 15th century. With the innards now exposed it shows that the ground floor was vaulted within the tower. Originally it consisted of four storeys. A fragment of the North wall is also present..
On our visit we got talking to a local grounds warden who was very informative and pointed out the grave slabs present at the site. The most striking is that of the effigial tomb slab of Gerard Cruise and Margaret Plunkett which was once within the old church but has now been set upright in a monument in the car park. There are two other slabs to be found in the graveyard date to the late 17th century one of them belonging to a priest called Murtagh the other to one Edward Balfe. The graveyard contains many interesting ancient stones and high crosses and is well worth a walk around. The more modern building adjacent to the ruins is that of a Church of Ireland church built in 1771 is now closed for worship but has been transformed into the George Eogan Cultural & Heritage Centre.
To find the ruins take the M3 heading North and after junction 10 the motorway ends in a roundabout. Take the third exit on this roundabout then the first exit on the subsequent roundabout following the N52 for Dundalk. Drive straight through the next two roundabouts and on the third take a left turn still following the signs for the N52 to Dundalk.Continue on this road for approx 12KM through Carlanstown and Stahalmog until you reach a T-junction with the R162. Turn left here and drive for approx 4KM until you enter Nobber..Look for Keogan's Bar on you left and turn left up the laneway just before the bar. You will find the car park of the graveyard at the end.