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Askeaton Church | Ballysteen Church | Askeaton Friary | Church Ruins

Church Ruins

Ruin of the old parish Church in Askeaton
© Old Parish Church Ruin

In the abbey grounds, there was a thatched church that was burned in 1847 when a fire started in the local mill across the road. The fire burned the mill and spread to the church. Lewis states that the Knights Templars originally founded this church in 1298. However this is probably incorrect, as Lewis mistakenly believed that the Knights Templars built many of the early churches in Ireland. Local tradition claims that this was one of three churches that were built by three sisters but no saint or founder is remembered in the parish. The other two churches were Kileen (in Kilcornan parish) and Cappagh church.

Beagh church ruin
© Beagh Church Ruin

There was a church in Beagh near Beagh castle ruin. This church is occasionally referred to as Iverus church. The church is in the townland of Ballyaglish. The ruin is situated on high ground and overlooks the village of Ballysteen to the west. There is also a graveyard on this site. Beagh church ruin is in good condition and the local people care for the church grounds.

The church was renovated in the 1980s. While it is without a roof, the remainder of the church is in excellent condition due to a large amount of voluntary work that has been carried out on the church. According to local legend, this is the church that Iverus reputedly built when he first came ashore.

Westropp measured the church as 57 feet by 22 feet. A major feature of the church is the window in the east wall, which has two ogee lights. There is also a wide doorway with a pointed arch in the south wall.

There was a chapel in Ballysteen in the 1790s, which was thatched. The modern church is at the western end of the village. This may have been a mass house rather than a church.

From W. Blood's work as a Hearth-money collector in 1784, we found that there was a mass house in Askeaton. He was probably referring to the thatched mass house, which burned in 1847.

Belfry in St Mary's Churchyard   Ruins in St Mary's Churchyard
© Ruins in St Mary's Churchyard

Lewis mentions that the church in Askeaton was also thatched and that the church was founded in 1298. The remains of a belfry and a part of the old chancel can be still seen. It is believed that the church ruin is probably dated from medieval times. The belfry is of particular note because it is square at ground level while it is octagonal on the next level. St. Mary's Protestant church, which was built in or around 1820, adjoins the ruin. After the dissolution Lord Cork converted this church to a Church of Ireland church.

Lismakeery Church Ruin
© Lismakeery Church Ruin

Westropp mentions that there were also churches at Lismakeery and Tomdeely. Lismakeery church is situated near the ring fort in Lismakeery. Westropp measured it as 59 feet by 22 ½ feet. The ruin is in good condition and within the church ruin, an altar has been erected where mass can be said in the church and the surrounding graveyard.

Tomdeely (also known as Dromdeely) church was to the northeast of Tomdeely castle and O'Donovan claimed that the church dated from the fifteenth century but it may have been older by around a century. Westropp measured the nave and chancel as 34 feet by 24 feet and 21 feet by 15 ½ feet.

There was also a chapel in the Desmond castle but the exact location of this chapel is unknown. Westropp states that the chapel was in the south end of the great hall.

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