Wednesday 21 January 2015

Old Duneany Church Co Kildare

                                               Above Image: The roadside gate

                                     Above Image: Entrance gate to the enclosure

                                                  Above Image: The way in!!

                              Above & Below Images: Only visible parts of the walls

                                           Above Image: The remains of the font

It was on a really warm spring Friday that I found myself in the backwaters of Kildare on another ruin hunt. I’d read that there was a medieval Church ruin at Duneany and so I set about finding it. On locating the townland a drive down a long narrow lane brought me to a gate in a stone wall. Beyond this a short wire fenced track led into pastureland to another gate that sported a cross. I knew then that I’d found it!  This gate was part of a circular enclosure wall and was unlocked but anticipation was slowly drowned as I tried to navigate the uneven ground within that was covered with high grass. A number of times I almost tripped on rocks hidden by the overgrowth. I could not for the life of me see any ruins. Finally amongst the leaning weatherworn headstones in a clump of trees and bushes in the centre of the enclosure I came across the remains of a font which apparently dates back to approx. the 13th century. This would date the Church to this time period also. According to records this font was supposed to be located within the Church so I reckoned that this must be where I was. Whatever remains of Duneany now is so covered over with vegetation that that I could only find traces of a wall strewn with dead ivy. I came across something similar at Castlefarm (see earlier post here) but at least at that location there was some more structure evident. What I’m increasingly finding on my visits to these sites is the rising amount of decay not by natural erosion but by neglect. Overgrowth is rampant in places. These historical structures are part of the fabric of the landscape and while I appreciate that landowners cannot afford the time or in many cases the cost of preserving these structures I think that the maybe the OPW should become more involved at local level in keeping these monuments visible. Many local authorities and indeed local people often get involved in clean ups on ruins but sadly there are not enough of these positive minded people around to deal with the more rural or remote sites. This rant aside I still always get something out of my visits to these ancient places and the feeling of antiquity always shines through no matter how great or little there is to see.
To find Duneany Churchyard take the M7 heading West and exit at junction 13. At the top of the exit ramp take the first left hand turn onto the R415. Drive for approx. 800m until you reach a crossroads. Take the right hand turn onto the L7024 and drive for approx. 6.5KM until you reach another small crossroads (There is a bungalow with a conservatory on the right). Turn down the left hand lane at the crossroads and approx. 400m along you will spot the Iron gate on your left. You can park safely here.

No comments:

Post a Comment