Saturday, 15 March 2014

Old Fossy Church Co Laois

                                          Above Image: The roadside sign

                                    Above Image: The view from the roadside

                                         Above Image: entry gate and stile

                                        Above Image: West wall entrance

We came across this nice little ruin on our way to Timahoe. It is located in a stone walled enclosure in pasture land about 100m from the roadside on a back road into the village.
The Church called Fossy (or sometimes Timahoe) was originally built in the late medieval period and apparently underwent some restructuring in the early 1600's. A Commissioners of Public Works document states that some repair work was carried out in 1903, this would have more than likely been preservation work as the Church had long been in ruins. All walls and gables still stand apart from a broken section in the South wall and the site has been under the care of the OPW since the mid 1940's. Throughout it's time the Church seems to have fared out better than a lot of it's contemporaries.
We thought that access to the location might be a problem as the ruins are surrounded by private pasture land but a roadside sign and stile proved otherwise. A short trek is all that is required across the field, which take note, can be a bit waterlogged in spots. About halfway across we encountered a wire barrier which had been strung across the length of the field presumably to deter cattle from wandering about but it wasn't electrified so it was easy enough to step under and continue on. In the distance a dog disturbed by our presence barked incessantly behind a wire fence in a nearby house but was of no danger to us. On reaching the Northern end of the enclosure wall there is another decently built stile to traverse and then you are there.
The Church itself is a simple affair, solidly built without any bells or whistles, but from it's vantage point it offers very picturesque views of the Laois countryside. Entry is through he arched doorway in the West wall and within silence is absolute. Outside there are some interesting old stones to be seen in the surrounding graveyard.
Worth a stop and a short trek if in the area and only a stones throw from the Timahoe monastic site.
To find the ruins take the Junction 17 exit of the M7 onto the roundabout and take the exit for the R423 (Abbeyleix Rd). On this road take the 2nd right hand turn at the cottage into Portlaoise retail park. Drive until you reach a T-Junction with the R426. Turn right and drive until you reach another T-Junction with the R425. Turn right again and continue on this road for approx.10KM until you reach the crossroads in Timahoe village. Go straight through the crossroads and take the first left turn beside the Tower Inn pub. Drive down this road for approx. 700m and you will spot the ruin in the field on your right. There is a field gate and stile with signpost. You can park a few yards beyond where the road is slightly wider.

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