Small vault situated in the nave



I first saw Oughaval church on Tom Nelligans excellent site, the I just had to see it for myself. access to the church is through a wonderfully maintained cemetery. At first glance the ruin looks more like a castle than a church, but as I approached from the south everything started to fall into place. St Colman mac Ua Laoighse founded a monastery here in the 6th century, but like most monasteries from that period no physical evidence remains. The oldest remaining building today is the much ruined 12th century nave.

In the 18th century the Cosby family added a chancel with a raised floor that accommodates a vaulted mortuary chamber underneath it, and a barrel vaulted stone ceiling. In the 19th century the triple window in the east gable end of the chancel was added. The size of the chancel along with the crenellations and wall walk on the N and S walls create the appearance of a castle. The Book of Leinster was kept at Oughaval for many generations and was then known as Lebor na Nuachongbála, or the Book of Oughaval. I was very lucky with the weather on my visit and also delighted by some of some wonderful views of the surrounding countryside from this location. If you are ever in this locality then I would recommend this site.

Vault under the chancel

Crenellation on the chancel roof

From the north west

Situated: From Stradbally, County Laois head southeast on the N80 for approximately 1 1/2 kilometres. Oughaval Church is located on your right hand side in the grounds of the cemetery. Walk through the cemetery gate and then turn right. The Church is located about 100 metres from here.

Discovery Map 55: S 5815 9570. Last visit Aug 2010.

Longitude: 7° 8' 1" W

Latitude: 53° 0' 32" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

Barrel vaulted chancel

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