Monday, 17 September 2018

Old Sheepstown Church Co Kilkenny

                                                  Above Image: Roadside gate

                            Above Image: Enclosure gate and church entrance door

                                       Above Image: The protruding "Clock Stone"

                                                       Above Image: East gable

                                                     Above Image: West gable

                                         Above Image: Buttresses on East gable

This small early parish church was constructed in the 12th century and dedicated to St Mulcin, a bishop.who died in 630AD.
Although construction focused on simplicity it does contain a few interesting features.
The church is situated in a walled enclosure that lies in a private pasture but it is only a short distance from the roadside and a sign and entrance gate allows pedestrian access.
The West facing wall features a fine Romanesque doorway and above it to the left a protrusion from the wall known as the "Clock Stone"  This is a type of corbel which was an architectural feature serving basically as a bracket or support an object.
The church is small measuring approx 15m x 7m and most of the walls are intact. A second doorway in the south wall leads into the graveyard and is thought might once have led to a sacristy.. Two buttresses can be seen on the exterior of the East wall which were probably added later to support the wall from falling outward. All four corners of the church have beaded mouldings in the stonework. This beading is also evident on the Romanesque doorway.
It's very peaceful here considering there is a main motorway nearby and the ruins are very pleasing to the eye. Access was so easy but be careful crossing the field to the enclosure as there are sometimes thin electric fences erected to keep cattle away from the church. On our visit there were two or three long cords strung out on posts but they were only cord and not electrified.
To find the ruins take the M9 motorway and exit at junction 10 taking the R699 for Callan. Drive a short 100m and park at the small parking area in front of the first cottage on your right.then simply cross the road where you will see the entry gate and sign.

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