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Kilcatherine Church
 

County

Cork

Coordinates

N 51° 42' 56.0"   W 009° 58' 09.0"

Nearest town

Castletownberehaven

Grid Ref.

V 63955 53233

Map No.

84

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

20

Date of visit

Tuesday 25 June 2013

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The north wall of the church is almost totally missing.


This medieval church was built on the remains of a 7th century monastic site. Of course this building is not that old and might date from the 11th or 12th century. The church was named after the mysterious St. Caithinghearn, also known as "The Cat Goddess". A carved round stone head with a very long neck above the pointed doorway in the south-southeast (160°) wall depicts what, according to some, should look like a cat, but to me it's just a human head, in fact its ears are on both sides of the head and not above it. The inner side of the doorway is lintelled.
The church has the altar to the east-northeast (70°). The window above the altar has a very pronounced splaying. In the south wall next to where the altar was there's a niche that was probably a piscina, a stone bowl for washing the sacred vessels during the mass. In the opposite wall there's a small ambry, a recess or small cupboard to store vessels and chalices.
The north wall of the church is almost totally missing.
In the graveyard, 10 metres to the southeast (130°) from the church, there's a stone cross which is said to be one of the oldest stone crosses in Ireland. It's 1.49 metres tall, 50 centimetres wide at the arms, 25 centimetres wide and 8 centimetres thick at the base. It leans to the southeast (150°) by 14°.
At about 15 metres to the south (170°) from the church there's also a dried up holy well, surmounted by a grassy mound.
In the high grass we also spotted some very old burial markers both inside the church and in the surrounding graveyard.


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