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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
Feenagh Church; St Mochuille’s Holy Well
Nat. Grid. Ref: R454655; ½” Sheet 17
For information relating to this
site refer to:-
Plan of Feenagh Church:
The actual doorway is 1.67 metres high by .72 metres wide. However if one includes the cut-stone around it the measurements increase to 1.75 metres (high) by .85 metres (wide). Though Westropp (1900) describes this doorway as being “a semi-circular arch” (p. 151) a better description would be “pointed” (Leask, type B). (See photographs 1 and 2).
Directly over the doorway is an arch type arrangement of 17 stones. These reach a maximum top width of 1.75 metres and an end width of 1.15 metres. On average these stones are .25 - .40 metres high. Some repair work has been undertaken below this arrangement of stones, to the west, and above the doorway. Sandstone blocks and cement have been inserted here (photo 2). Above the arch-type arrangement of stones are 3 corbels. These are, on average, protruding some 20 cm out from the wall. The more westerly of the 3 stones has a zig-zag line decoration on part of its outer face (photo 2).
Inside the stone cut doorway beam slots occur on both sides of the entrance
area. These average 11 cm square.
While we found the southern wall in a good condition the same cannot
be said for the eastern one. As Westropp wrote in 1900: “the east
gable has fallen” (page 151). Field examination found (see site
plan) that the actual wall may be traced for a distance of 2.50 metres
from the south-east corner. Here the wall varies in height from 1.25
to 1.50 metres. This section of the wall then ends with a smooth stone
facing suggesting that here, perhaps, there formerly was a window. One
of the stones in this facing has a small carved leaf-like decoration.
The northern wall, on the interior, is in a fair condition. It is 16.50 metres long with an average height of 3.0 metres. There is no evidence to suggest that this wall formerly had a window or door. As the site plan shows there is a niche in this wall by the north-east corner. This is 50 cm above ground level, 65 cm wide, 40 cm high and 50 cm deep. While the northern wall is well represented in the interior the same cannot be said for its outside area. As the site plan shows large sections of the stone facing have been removed leaving only rough limestone pieces visible in parts (see photo 5). From the outside this wall averages 4 metres in height.
Finally the western pointed wall reaches a maximum height of over 9 metres (photo 4). It is in a fairly good condition consisting of limestone blocks in the first 4 ½ metres with sandstone above that. There is no evidence of a window opening along this wall.
As we noted in other sites a number of graves occur in the site’s interior (photo 4). Some of these are quite modern and date to 1976 and 1977.
Date of Site:
REFERENCES TO FEENAGH CHURCH:
There is also a Holy Well in this Townland, dedicated to Saint Mochuille. (Co. Clare 6” O.S. Sheet number 51 : Rathmore Townland: 2.8 cm North; 2.2 cm East; at 100’ O.D.).