Monday 21 July 2014

Old Davidstown Church Co Kildare

                                        Above Image: The track to the ruins

                                     Above Image: The Enclosure gate & stile

                                          Above Image: Entrance doorway

                                      Above Image: remains of the Bell cote

                                      Above Image: Unusual stone markings

The Townland of Davidstown lies close to the village of Calverstown in Co Kildare. 
The ruins of the old Church dating to the early 19th century are located in a crop field well isolated from the road. The Church must not have had a long term of use as it is stated as being in ruins on the ordnance survey map of 1897-1913.
The ruins are accessed by way of an iron gate on the roadside which also has an adjacent stile. A pleasant walk along a track of about 300 feet through the field brings you to a walled enclosure also sporting a gate and stile.
The Church a simple rectangular structure with remains of a bell cote lies in a very ruinous state now. All four walls are extant but Vegetation has begun to cling to them and although this graveyard is still open it looks as if the church ruins which are not maintained in any way will eventually succumb to the overgrowth crumbling or disappearing like many of its ilk into obscurity. 
There is a doorway is in the West wall and windows set in the East gable where presumably the altar stood and in the North and South walls.
Isolated from the road the Church is a lonely sentinel to the various grave markers that surround it.  One curious stone lies to the south west of the church and has unusual lettering carved on it. Maybe somebody reading can decipher it.
There is an eerie feel to this place maybe more so a kind of loneliness. The ruins stand in the centre of the enclosure and no longer bear any relatively distinguishing features. A simple church that fell out of use in harder times than these.   
To find the ruins take the M7 Dublin to Limerick motorway and at junction 11 take the exit for the M9. At junction 2 take the exit for Kilcullen and at the top of the exit ramp turn right and follow the sign pointing to the R448 for Castledermot. Drive for approx. 3.5KM until you see a turn on the left for the L8008 for Calverstown. Take this left hand turn and drive until you have passed through Calverstown Village. Once through the Village and 400m on you will pass over a small stream and pass by a large five windowed house on your right with a rounded arch door. 100m past this on the left you will spot an iron field gate with a cross inserted in the ironwork. This is the entry point. You can park safely enough just past the gate if you tuck the car in against the hedgerow.

Friday 4 July 2014

Ballinafagh Churches Co Kildare

                                     Above Image: The Entrance from the roadside

                                        Above Image: A view internally of the tower

                                       Above Image: The remains of the sacristy

                       Above Image: Remains of the Medieval Church in middle ground
                       Below 4 Images: Ruins of the Medieval Church

Two ruins for the price of one! 

Just north of the Village of Prosperous in the Ballynafagh Townland lie the ruins of two churches. The larger is the former COI church of Ballynafagh built in the 1830’s and was maintained until the 20th century but then fell into disuse and was eventually de-roofed in 1985. The smaller ruins are the scant remains of the original medieval church which sit on a mound at the South-East corner of the larger church. Both are contained in a rectangular walled enclosure which is located surprisingly like an island in a field of wheat. 
We visited these ruins on two occasions once when the crop was harvested and again when the crop was in full flourish. I think the latter trip was more interesting as the ruins sat in a sea of wheat which undulated in the wind like an ocean. Access is via a gate at the roadside of a narrow lane. A short trek through a trodden pathway in the wheat brings you to the gateway of the enclosure, the gate itself detached and lain against a wall inside.
The large 19th century Church is still upstanding but beginning to show signs of decay and brambles are slowly beginning to take hold. It is a very bold looking ruin, each corner having sharp finials rising to the sky from four of the twelve buttresses. There is a fine large Arch window on the East wall but all of the windows and the door have been partially bricked up so no internal access is available. There are the remains of a sacristy attached to the North wall and the bell tower stands proudly over the whole affair. One lone large tree shelters the North-East end of the enclosure.
On a mound quite close to the South-East corner of the large church lies the remains of the original medieval church, diminished now to its North wall and foundations of the Eastern gable. Scant though its remains are, they are still a visible window on the past. It’s interesting that both ruins are in so close a proximity attesting that maybe this was deemed ancient hallowed ground and also the fact that they are placed in an unusual location.
Spotting the picturesque ruins from the road would surely entice anybody to stop and take a closer look and indeed its aesthetic has provided inspiration for painters and photographers alike. A really interesting visit was had and I would  recommend it to you.

To find the ruins take the Junction 7 exit of the M4 motorway for the R406 heading South for Straffan. Drive for approx. 5KM until you reach a roundabout at Barberstown. Turn right off the roundabout onto the R403 for Clane. Drive until you reach Clane and the road swings left onto the Main Street. Drive about 100M and take the right turn continuation of the R403 at the restaurant called “The Tigger”.  The road is signposted for Prosperous. It is a 4KM drive to reach the crossroads in Prosperous. Turn right here at the church and about 700m along, the road divides. Take the left hand fork and drive for approx. 2.5KM. You will pass a sign for “The Kildare Maze” on your left and the left hand turn for the ruins is about 600m past this. Once on the lane way you can park at the small gate entrance to the field on your right about 300m up the lane.