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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 25: Kilfintinan Parish

Kilfintinan Church; Crughaun Church; Killavoher Burial Ground

KILFINTINAN CHURCH

Nat. Grid. Ref: R495635; ½” Sheet 17

Photo 1: Kilfintinan Church, from the south-east
Photo 1: Kilfintinan Church, from the south-east

R.C. Parish : Cratloe
Townland : Ballybroughan
6” O.S. Sheet number : 52 (Co. Clare)
Reference : 18.0 cm South; 40.9 cm West
Height (G.L.) : c. 270’ O.D.
1” O.S. Sheet number : 143 (Limerick)

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

Plan of Kilfintinan Church:

Kilfintinan Church:
This site, though traceable, is in a very poor condition (see photo 1).
The northern wall is low, with a maximum height of .40 metre along the 15.60 metre internal length. Partly covered by vegetation it has no evidence to suggest the former existence of windows or a door.

The same holds for the southern wall, though this survives to between 1.20 and 1.30 metres above ground level. The original entrance may have been along here as there are a number of steps leading into the site (see plan).

The eastern and western walls are defined by a heavy vegetation cover. These also offer no evidence of windows or a doorway.

The site’s interior is 1.20 metres above the level of the nearby roadway. This, according to locals, is due to earth being brought into the site’s interior so that people could be buried there. An estimated 25 or 26 graves are said to occur in Kilfintinan Church.

Date of Church:
Due to the site’s poor, overgrown, condition it is difficult to date it. Westropp, 1900, felt it was of a late date, possibly early sixteenth century.

REFERENCES TO KILFINTINAN CHURCH

Frost, 1893, page 11 (very general).
Westropp, 1900, page 152 (general).
Ordnance Survey Letters (1839) Volume 2, 1928 edition, page 134 (O’Donovan).

This reference shows that the site was already in a poor condition in 1839: “…of the site walls (i.e. north and south) and east gable only four feet in height remain and the west gable is destroyed down to the very foundation stones. …No doorway or window remains”.

CRUGHAUN CHURCH

Nat. Grid. Ref: R480615; ½” Sheet 17

Photo 1: Crughaun Church, shot towards the north-east
Photo 1: Crughaun Church, shot towards the north-east

R.C. Parish : Cratloe
Townland : Ballinphunta
6” O.S. Sheet number : 62 (Co. Clare)
Reference : 1.7 cm North; 28.2 cm West
Height (G.L.) : 80’ O.D.
1” O.S. Sheet number : 143 (Limerick)

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

Plan of Crughaun Church:

Crughaun Church:
This site, as photo 1 shows, is in a poor condition. It is not so much that part of the walls are missing, though as the site plan clearly shows this is the case, but that what exists is covered by ivy.

This is especially so for the northern wall. It is 17.0 metres in length but all along this stretch no evidence can be found to suggest the existence of a window or door, simply because all but for a small area to the centre, the wall is heavily covered by ivy (photo 2).

The same holds for the eastern wall where, along with the ivy, some trees and bushes occur (photo 1). In 1839 this wall had a pointed, though broken, window. However when Westropp visited the site in 1900 no trace remained of this feature (page 152).

The west wall, no trace of which now remains (see site plan), had fallen before 1839.

Finally, the southern wall. This has suffered a deal of damage since 1900. At that time Westropp was able to write about it: “The slightly pointed door and window remain in the south wall” (page 152). However, as the site plan shows, only a 4.50 metre stretch of this wall now survives. This is in a poor condition and heavily covered by ivy, bushes and young trees. (Refer to 1839 Ordnance Survey Letters extract below for description of site at that time).

Quite a number of graves occur within the site’s interior.

Date of Church:
Based on a study of the now destroyed south door and window Westropp suggested a fifteenth century date for this site (1900, page 152).

REFERENCES TO CRUGHAUN CHURCH:

Frost, 1893, page 11 (very general).
Westropp, 1900, page 152 (general).
Ordnance Survey Letters (1839) Volume 2, 1928 edition, page 134 (O’Donovan).

Because of the present poor condition of this site the 1839 description is quite useful. Amongst other things it states: “…there is a pointed window in the same (south) wall near the east gable measuring on the outside three feet four inches in height and seven inches in width. The east gable contains a pointed window, now much broken, measuring on the outside four feet ten inches in height and one foot seven inches in breadth…”

Other Sites of Religious Interest:

Killavoher Burial Ground:

Ballyliddan West Townland: Co. Clare 6” O.S. Sheet number 52; Reference 28.6 cm West; 29.9 cm South: at 27’ O.D.

Westropp includes this site in his appendix which deals with graveyards which may mark the site of pre Norman Churches. He feels a number of old (pre Norman) Churches perished before the 1169 invasion, though their sites continued to be used for burial. (1900, page 172). He feels Killavoher, south of Sixmilebridge, may be one such site.

Photo 2: Inner face of north wall, Crughaun Church
Photo 2: Inner face of north wall, Crughaun Church

 

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