Thursday 16 November 2017

Old Sleaty Church Co Laois

                                               Above Image: Roadside Gate

                                                Above Image: Enclosure entry

                                              Above Image: Southern Entrance

                                                    Above Image: Stone font

                                                Above Image: St Fiacc's cross

                                     Above 2 Images: Second early Christian cross

Tucked away in the backwaters of South county Laois, this small but nonetheless interesting Church ruin was constructed in medieval times on the foundation of a once important early Christian site associated with St. Fiacc, the Bishop of Leinster. It measures approx. 14m x 9m with the East gable seeming to be of later construction
The ruins are enclosed by a boundary wall which is set back from the road in a field. Access is easy by way of a roadway gate and a stile in the boundary wall. 
While the ruins themselves are nothing extraordinary there are some interesting things to see here. Within the wall by the Southern door is a large font looking not unlike a large bullaun stone. Outside the West wall is a tall rather worn looking cross. This is actually St Fiacc’s cross and is a remnant of the older foundation here and is believed to be over 1400 years old. Its plainness belays its antiquity but it is still nonetheless striking. It stands at nearly 3M high. A second smaller cross  standing at approx. 1.5m in height is located in the area adjacent to the Southern wall. It too has suffered the sands of time and is also a remnant of the earlier site.
It still amazes me when I come across these genuine antiquities that lie hidden in out of the way places and this particular place is worth seeking out.
To find the ruins take the M7 heading South and exit at Junction 3. At the top of the ramp turn right on the roundabout and cross over the motorway. On the next roundabout take the exit for the N78 for Athy. After you enter Athy take a left turn at the town square for the R417 to Carlow and drive for approx. 9.5km until you reach Maganey. At the crossroads here take a turn right and cross over the stone bridge on the river. Following the bridge take the next left turn and drive down this country road for approx. 5km.Keep an eye out on the left for the field gate and the ruins just beyond. they are easy to miss. For parking there is just enough room opposite on a grass verge.