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Church Ruins

Ruins at Robertstown
© Ruins at Robertstown

The first church in Robertstown was near Churchfield. Behind the present day church in Robertstown is the ruin of the previous Robertstown church and graveyard. The grounds are tidy and well kept and the church ruins have been partially rebuilt. Westropp states that Robert de Guer probably founded the church in the early part of the thirteenth century. Ardineer is a townland in Robertstown, and although there is no trace of a church in the present townland, it is believed that the original Robertstown church may have been situated here.

Tower at Shanagolden
© Tower at Shanagolden

The church ruin in Shanagolden was converted into a place of Protestant worship and a tower was built on the site when the conversion took place. As there is a mention of a "lofty square tower built in 1815" in the Postal Directory of Munster, it can be assumed that this is one and the same tower.

Kilmoylan Church
© Kilmoylan Church

About a mile from Shanagolden are the ruins of another church. Kilmoylan church is at the eastern end of the parish and Westropp measured the church as 35 feet by 18 feet. The west gable fell in the Night of the Big Wind in 1839.

Ruins in Mount Pleasant Graveyard  Altar in Mount Pleasant Graveyard
© Ruins in Mount Pleasant Graveyard and Altar in Mount Pleasant Graveyard

There is also a church ruin in Mount Pleasant graveyard. Near the church ruin is an altar. Both the church ruin and the altar are in good condition.

Knockpatrick Church
© Knockpatrick Church

Knockpatrick church is situated 572 feet above sea level and gives a stunning view of the Shannon Estuary and the surrounding countryside. According to legend, St Patrick consecrated the church at Knockpatrick when he visited the area in 448 AD. He also blessed all that lay west of him, as he never ventured as far as Kerry. Westropp wrote that the Danes burned Knockpatrick in 1114.

To the east of the church there are six stones that are called 'Suíochán Pádraig', St Patrick's Seat. According to Mainchín Seoighe, the traditional religious practice at Knockpatrick involved reciting three Rosaries: one around the wall of the burial grounds, one while moving clockwise around St Patrick's Well and the third at Suíochán Pádraig.

Suíochán Pádraig
© Suíochán Pádraig

Westropp also mentions churches at Aughinish and Ardaneer but the sites of these churches are unknown today. There was also an old church at Dysert or Morgans as it is now called. It is believed that this church was located near Barrigone well. The name Morgans was derived from the Irish Muingeadain, meaning a 'maritime spot'. The church is believed to have been built in the 15th century. It is said to have been built by two sisters, but neither their names nor their surnames are remembered.

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