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A Survey of Monuments of Archaeological and Historical Interest in the Barony of Bunratty Lower, Co. Clare by William Gerrard Ryan

Part 3: Pre-reformation church and monastic sites
Chapter 21: Drumline Parish


Nat. Grid. Ref: R422647; ½” Sheet 17

Photo 1: Shot into Drumline Church, from the south-east
Photo 1: Shot into Drumline Church, from the south-east

R.C. Parish : Newmarket-on-Fergus
Townland : Drumline
6” O.S. Sheet number : 51 (Co. Clare)
Reference : 27.2 cm South; 28.1 cm East
Height (G.L.) : 80’ O.D.
1” O.S. Sheet number : 133 (Sixmilebridge)

For information relating to this site refer to: (a) site plan (b) site description (c) series of photographs on the site.

Plan of Drumline Church:

Drumline Church:
As both the above plan and photograph 1 show this site is in a very poor condition. Very little now survives of the church with only sections of the northern and eastern walls visible. The site, based on Westropp’s 1900 article, seems to have suffered a deal of damage since the turn of the century though the west gable was gone by that date “…much of the south wall… (has) been destroyed…” (page 150). At present (1979) no trace survives of this southern wall, not even foundation blocks. As a number of early twentieth century graves occur in the area of the former south wall they may have been responsible for the removal of the traces surviving in 1900.

There was formerly a window in the east wall but, as the site plan shows, only a 1.50 metre gap exists here now with no trace of a window. Averaging .75 metres in width this eastern wall now survives to a length of 6.50 metres and an average height of 2.50 metres. This wall as it survives is ivy covered (photo 2).

The northern wall survives in two short sections, the main one being to the west. This section is almost 5 metres long, .70 metres wide and 2.0 metres high and again ivy covered (photo 3).

As the site plan shows it contains a small niche, .45 metres wide .60 metres high and .36 metres deep. As this space contains, in its composition, some concrete facing and metal it must be of a “modern” date.

The top part of the northern wall contains some concrete facing with rectangular hollows (photo 3). These possibly contained stations of the cross.

Date of Church:
Part of the walls are possibly fifteenth century though as the site is in such a poor overgrown condition it is difficult to be certain.
The niche and station placings show that the site was also used at a much later date, possibly early nineteenth century.


Frost, 1893, page 187 (very general).
Westropp, 1900, page 150 (quite general).
The Other Clare, (Volume 2) 1978, page 32.

Ordnance Survey Letters (1839), Volume 2, 1928 edition, pages 140 & 141 (O’Donovan). In this there is a brief reference to the now levelled south wall: “…the south wall is also destroyed except a fragment of six feet in length and about twelve feet in height attached to the east gable…”

Photo 2: East surviving wall of Drumline Church, from the inside
Photo 2: East surviving wall of Drumline Church, from the inside

Photo 3: Inner face of north wall, Drumline Church
Photo 3: Inner face of north wall, Drumline Church