St Finian's Medieval Church

This multi period church, dedicated to St Finian of Clonard, stands on the site of an earlier pre-norman church. It is a, 15th century, nave and chancel church with a residential tower attached to the west gable. This tower house is three storeys high with a battlemented parapet and a square turret at the north west corner. A spiral stair inside the turret provided access to to upper floors. The tower and nave are still in use but the chancel is now ruinous. The nave was rebuilt in the 16th/17th century. At this time the tracered window, pictured below left, was removed from the east wall of the roofless chancel, and inserted into the east gable. High on the south wall of the chancel, close to the south east corner is a carved head. The church was locked during our visit, so we were unable to view the interior of the nave and tower. There are quite a few items of interest to be found in the graveyard. These include a carved granite cross, a pre-christian pillar stone and a mausoleum. Unfortunately metal railings blocked access to the northern side of the church.

Pictured left is the east gable of the modernised nave and on the left is the much older east wall of the chancel.

From the southeast

Carved head

In the field to the west of the church is a five metre high, flat topped norman motte. It was constructed sometime after the norman invasion in 1169. Newcastle more than likely derived it's name from the wooden castle that once stood on top of the motte.

Newcastle Motte: Longitude: 6° 30' 25" W. Latitude: 53° 18' 1" N.

Situated: St Finian's, Church of Ireland, is on the northern side of the Main Road, that passes through the centre of the town.

Discovery Map 50: N 9959 2882. Last visit Jan 2018.

Longitude:  6° 30' 21" W

Latitude:  53° 18' 1" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

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