Coole Upper Church




N 52° 06' 31.62"   W 008° 12' 14.4"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

W 86026 95230

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Friday 10 June 2016

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The ruins of Coole Upper church.

This area is associated with two saints, Abban and Dalbach, and has the name of Coole Abbey, though no abbey is visible today.
Of the monastery founded here in the 5th or 6th century only two churches and a holy well survive.

This church is the larger of the two and in medieval time it had the function of parish church. It was built in the 12th century as a single nave church and had antae, one of which still survives in the northwest corner. The west gable has an opening that would look like a window but its asymmetric position and shape leave some doubt. The access to this part of the church is forbidden due to safety issues. The chancel was added in the 13th century. It has a narrow two-light ogee window in the east gable. A rosette was carved on one of the stones in the east wall, but because it has a different look from the rest of the masonry it is likely that it was re-used from an earlier church.
The east and west gables are still to their full height. The north and south walls of the nave have partially crumbled down. The north and south walls of the chancel are in better conditions, though some breaches and damages are visible. There's a well preserved pointed doorway in the south wall, and a rectangular lintelled window high in the wall, but it's badly damaged.
Between the chancel and the nave there's a curtain wall with a pointed archway, but this seems to have been added later because the stonework has a different look.
According to some records, in 1615 the nave was in ruinous conditions, but the chancel was under repair. This part of the church remained in use until the 18th century, then it was abandoned.
A greveyard still in use surrounds the building, which is aligned to the east (80°).

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