Tuesday 11 November 2014

Old Portmarnock Church Co Dublin

                                          Above Image: The roadside gate.

                                       Above Image: The track to the ruins.

                                             Above Image: First glimpse.

                                         Above Image: The enclosure gate.

                             Above Image: West gable with remains of belfry.

                                     Above Image: East gable (foreground)

This Church ruin lies near the sand dunes on the Strand at Portmarnock, a village on the North East coast of County Dublin, which derives its name from St Marnoc who settled here in the 5th century. The present ruins were built upon the site of a much earlier church and date to between the late 12th and early 13th century. The ruins are surrounded by a later graveyard with a walled enclosure.
This is one of these ruins which are not apparent to the passer by. It is not signposted from the road and access is through a metal swing gate at the roadside and a trek through some scrub land out towards the dunes.
The Church sits in a very nice coastal setting and has most of both gables and its walls still in evidence with a window in the West gable. This gable I believe also at one time had triple bell arches. It is a long rectangular building longer than most of its type and one of the oldest still in evidence in co Dublin and so worth a look.
When walking up the track towards the ruins I was met by several signs indicating private property on both sides of the track and that leaving the track was trespassing. I have to say when I reached the enclosure I did not at first see the entry gate and walked a little around the enclosure to see if I could find a way in. I took a photo from this position of the ruins and this activity must have generated some suspicion in one of the nearby houses. The enclosure is bordered mainly by the Portmarnock Hotel golf links and also by the grounds of Lissadell house. Anyway, I finally did find the gate which was actually at the end of the track I had arrived on. How I missed it I don’t know.
 I entered through the gate and went about looking at the ruins. During my perusal a very stocky and somewhat surly looking character entered the graveyard and pretended to look at a grave but was obvious to me that he was checking to see what I was up to. I continued to take photos and generally look at the ruins and when I was done I walked out towards the enclosure gate deliberately passing him and bidding him good day. He didn’t respond so I went about my way looking back to see if he was following, but he wasn’t. I don’t think that my visit to the ruin was in anyway prohibited but my leaving the path and photography may have seemed to somebody that I might be photographing the estate house for some nefarious reason. So be wary of this if visiting and stay on the track.

To find the ruins take the R106 Strand Road heading North through Portmarnock. Pass by St Anne’s Church on your right and drive for approx. 700m until you see a left hand turn for Blackberry Lane. Turn in and park along the road here. Walk back out onto the Strand Road and cross over to the other side. Follow the path back in the direction you drove in on for about 50m until you see a low wall running alongside the footpath. The entrance gate is in a break in this wall. Just follow the track inside and you will reach the ruins.


  1. Would you know if there is a list in existence of the deceased buried there?

    1. Perhaps this website might be of help https://buried.fingal.ie/