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Thread: Church of Ireland Churches

  1. #1
    Join Date
    September 2011

    Default Church of Ireland Churches

    Hughieís report on Affane church of Ireland reminded me of the handful Iíve visited. The Church of Ireland went on a building spree from about 1777 to 1832 using the money raised from tithes and clerical taxes. The monies were collected by the state and distributed through a commission for church building and improvement called The Board of First Fruits. By 1832, there were nearly 1300 Church of Ireland churches with around 700 having received full or partial funding from the Board for construction. I seem to remember reading somewhere that the aim was for the people to have a church within about 2 miles of their house, but I canít find the reference anymore. I donít think too many are still in use as CoI churches but many have been repurposed - Iíve seen some used as community halls, homes, a library and a restaurant. Some are disused but still well looked after, others are derelict and still more lie in ruins. Anyway, there sure are a lot of them around and theyíre easy to spot because they share some characteristic design features: ďThe basic plan is a plain gabled hall with a square tower built on the West end. Walls are of rubble stone and rendered in lime plaster. The tower probably has corner pinnacles and a semblance of battlements and on each upper face, a louver window, with a pointed arch and hood moulding.Ē

    Alright, on to the few Iíve visited. Iím going to preface this with saying the photos are quite poor so apologies for that. I think the most recent one I visited was in 2014, so a little bit old too, but I suspect not much has changed for most of the them.

    The first is the Punchbowl church, Iím not sure what itís official name was. It was built in 1735 with private funds, so not a First Fruits church. It appears disused on the OSI maps dated from 1888. The church is now ruined but being preserved as is and the surrounding graveyard is occasionally maintained.

    The next is Kilkishen, this is a First Fruits church built in 1811 with a grant of £800. The church was disused by 1964 and remained so until 2013 when it was restored as a community hall.

    St Jamesí Church, Nantenan. Another First Fruits church built in 1821, not really sure when this one became disused. The unusual feature in this one is its balcony and nice rounded staircase up the tower. At the time I visited it was being used for storage and bizarrely seemed to have a lot of stone work from a demolished National School laid out on the floor.

    Ardagh Church, the most intact version that I came across. Built in 1825 and paid for with private funds, it is simply decorated but a nice example. It looks to be storing some furniture from the nearby rectory.

    Modreeny Church, a First Fruits funded effort built in 1828. Itís not in great shape as you can see - the interior seems to have been stripped of anything valuable. It was unusual to see the memorial plaques still in place though. From what Iíve seen when other churches close they tend to recover the plaques to be placed in another church or maybe given back to a family.

    This last one, Iím afraid I canít remember where it is to even google some information. Could be in Tipperary maybe. I remember it was fairly tucked away though, I could see the tower from the road and dropped in for a look. Anyway, quite derelict but the windows are hanging on.

    The Athy brick co. Iím fairly sure the church wasnít in Kildare, I think North Tipperary or Laoise is more likely.

    So thatís the lot from me. I suppose theyíre not really worth going out of the way to visit but if you happen to spot one on the way past, no harm in taking a punt Iím sure there are some gems to be found. Thanks for reading.
    Last edited by Belfry; 30th Aug 20 at 21:57.

  2. Thanks given by: Des Head, etc100, Fluffy, Hugh Jorgan, HughieD, Ipcre55, irishmanlost, Mearing, ocelot397, Terminal Decline, The Archivist, theartist, The_Derp_Lane, tony willett
  4. #2
    Join Date
    January 2013
    People's Republic of South Yorkshire.

  5. Thanks given by: Belfry
  6. #3
    Join Date
    August 2009
    Far Far Away


    Nice finds, always love coming across these on my travels, the St James’ Church, with the national school stonework inside, it used to be i guess at the junction at the end of the lane to the church, and when it was removed to built said junction thats where somebody has saved it. I'm only guessing and also going by old maps. It will also save hunting for that national school ;)

  7. Thanks given by: Belfry
  8. #4
    Join Date
    October 2019


    Lovely set of pics, albeit rather sad.

  9. Thanks given by: Belfry
  10. #5
    Join Date
    June 2014


    Thats a lovely selection there very nice!
    What the hell am I doing, I mean really at my age!

  11. Thanks given by: Belfry

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