Hiberno-Romanesque Church

There is very little reference on the internet to this gorgeous wee church at Sheepstown. We were both pleasantly surprised by the beauty of this simple church building. Dedicated to St Muicín it was built as a parish church during the 12th century. At that time the Irish Church was reorganising from a monastic to a diocesan basis. The rectangular church is 12.5 metres in length and almost 5 metres wide. The walls are 1 metre in thickness and apart from the north wall are in excellent condition.

The architectural features of the church are quite simple in design. The Hiberno-Romanesque western doorway pictured left, has simple bead moulding chiseled into sandstone, as does the four corners of the gables. On the inside of the north west corner is a small carving. There is also a window situated in the east gable above the altar, with smaller windows in the outer walls on either side of the altar. Another narrow doorway built into the southern wall, may have led to the sacristy. Situated high up on the west gable is a feature known as a "Cloch Chloig" or clock-stone. The church is situated in a small enclosure, a just a short distance across a field. If you are in the vicinity then please do take the time visit this beautiful early church.

Situated: From Thomastown, take the N9 South. Then turn right onto the R699 to Knocktopher. Stay on this road. Just after you go under the M9 there is a sharp left. Park here at the house. The church is in the field on your left.

Discovery Map 67: S 514 372. Last visit March 2011.

Longitude: 7° 14' 35.94" W

Latitude: 52° 29' 1.99" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

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