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St. Catherine's Church
 

County

Donegal

Coordinates

N 54° 37' 43.44"   W 008° 26' 37.56"

Nearest town

Killybegs

Grid Ref.

G 71345 75703

Map No.

10

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

12

Date of visit

Monday 3 June 2019

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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From the north-northeast, the church and the northwest chapel.


There are three interesting things to see in Killybegs.
One of them is this church.
St. Catherine's Church was built in 1480, though some part of the building date to the 12th century. The friary was founded by MacSwiny Bannagh in 1535 for the Fransciscan Third Order, but it was suppressed in 1600. The church was then used by Protestants after 1615 and again by the friars in 1641, and by Protestants again.

The building is aligned to the southeast (65°) and is a long nave with an entrance in the northeast wall and another doorway in the opposite wall. This latter one would have been lintelled with a light above the lintel. The lintel is gone now, but there are traces of it in the wall.
There are four windows in the southeast wall, one of them is a small and low pointed arch window.
The northwest chapel is accessed through a wonderful archway. There's a segmental arch window in the northwest gable and a round-headed window in the northeast wall.

We've been told that only wealthy people could be buried within the church's walls, the others had to be buried in the ground around the church.
It is said that not fewer than 3,000 burials are in the church's ground and around the St. Catherine's Holy Well.

The oldest burial in the church ground is dated 1659, but we only found a fragment of the grave slab of John Lindsay, who died on June 30th 1665, aged 25.

The ruins are a place of nearly daily pilgrimage by some people who come here to make their rounds and pray.


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