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Urlaur Priory Church
 

County

Mayo

Coordinates

N 53° 51' 05.8"   W 008° 44' 49.6"

Nearest town

Ballyhaunis

Grid Ref.

M 50881 89374

Map No.

32

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

91

Date of visit

Saturday 7 June 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The priory on the north shore of the Urlaur Lough. This is the only photo taken with the sunlight. A few seconds later the sky got darker and after about half an hour one of the most violent rainstorm I had ever seen came down on us!


This place had been in my list for too a long time, and every year there was a reason why I couldn't come here, this time was the right time.
Unfortunately the weather, that had been good until one hour before, turned quickly to bad and I went back to the car five seconds before a heavy storm hit the spot.
These are the ruins of a Dominican Priory built in 1430 by the family of the de Angulo or Nangle and dedicated to St. Thomas Aquinas. It stands on the north shore of the Urlaur Lough.
It's a very long nave and chancel structure aligned to southeast (110°), with an adjoining long building on its southwest (200°) side which was used as dormitory and other domestic purposes.
There's a small pointed arch doorway and a two-lights window in the west gable and a pointed arch window in the east wall. There's a north aisle but the arches have completely disappeared. The north wall past the aisle is slightly leaning inwards and is kept in place by two long steel rods.
In the south wall there's a small arched dorway and a window above it. This wall has a massive buttress.
A spiral staircase takes from the sacristy to the upper floor of the dormitory and up to the roof. Another staircase is on the other end of this building.
A really nice feature is at the highest point of the south doorway, a human figure dressed in a robe long down to its feet, with the right hand raised in the act of blessing. The figure also has two large wings open wide, so it can be said that it's an angel.
I'm quite sure that this unusual feature has passed unnoticed thousands of times.
Halfway the length of the south wall there's a commemorative plaque erected in 1719 by the Duffy family.


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