Friday, 26 June 2020
Chapelmidway Church Co Dublin
Chapelmidway draws its name from its location which is halfway between St. Margaret's and Kilsallaghan both also recorded as being ecclesiastical sites.
The remains of this medieval church circa early 15th century are situated on elevated ground within a walled enclosure.The Church which was in use certainly up to the dissolution of Irish
monasteries and churches by Henry VIII between 1536-1541 was recorded in 1615 as being ruinous. The final nail in the coffin was struck by Cromwellian forces who mostly destroyed it in 1649 as they moved towards Drogheda. In later years the grounds were used for burials with the earliest stone recorded here as being from 1740.
A narrow lane leads up to graveyard from the roadside and we were greeted on both sides by barking dogs who sprang into action literally at the sound of a leaf being trod on. To be fair they were in adjacent garden enclosures which were fenced and so presented no physical inconvenience to the us.
On first sight of the ruin it appears to be a square structure with a doorway in East side and the remains of a narrow tower on the East/North Corner. On looking inside the doorway the chamber within was quite small, too small for a church and had what looked to be the remains of a fireplace on the inner West wall. Strangely too, the room was vaulted and from this I could only assume that this was a supplementary part of the church and not the main nave or chancel. As I discovered later it is in fact the remains of quite a large West tower and what I thought to be a small tower on the corner was actually remains of the East/North corner of this larger tower. Evidence is also present of an extended building with the sloped mark of a former roof on the taller part of the East wall. Apparently a reasonably large church had once been attached as some of its foundations were discovered almost 25 feet to the East of the ruins.There is also evidence of a former staircase on the outer South wall leading up above the vaulted chamber.This area is partially covered in ivy.
The ruins that have survived have left us a most unusual looking structure and are well worth a look. Hidden from view now by the modern housing on the roadside it would be so easily overlooked but once you enter the enclosure it is just feels soaked in history.
To find the ruins take the junction 5 exit for Finglas from the M50 onto the N2. Once on the N2 drive approx 500m and take the exit left for Coldwinters. This leads to a T-junction where you turn right and drive 1.4Km to Kilshane Crossroads. Turn right here and drive to the next roundabout where you turn left onto the R122. Drive on for approx 1.2KM and then take a left at the sign pointing to St Margaret's (R122). A few metres on you reach a T-junction. Turn right here and follow this road until you have passed a left hand turn signposted for Mulhuddart (R121). 500m further on you will reach a small row of bungalows on your left. The lane way up to the ruins lies between the 2nd and 3rd house. There is just enough room to park at the foot of the lane.