Burrane Lower Church




N 52° 37' 03.6"   W 009° 22' 37.7"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

R 06777 52668

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Tuesday 10 June 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The grave slabs are so close that the ground looks like it was tiled.

We were a bit early for the ferry across the Shannon from Killimer to Tarbert, so we thought to use the time before the following ferry to visit the ruins of this old church and its incredible graveyard.
Actually the graveyard is split in two by the R486, with the modern burial section towards the sea and the old section and the ruined church slightly uphill.
The place is known as Burrane Lower.

The ruinous church is roofless, but the walls are still quite intact, though overgrown. Both gables stand at their full height, the west one being completely blind, the other one has a small window. In the south wall there are a ruined window and a doorway which is pointed arched outside and lintelled inside. The church is aligned to the east (100°). There's a low vaulted building attached to the outside of the west gable.
What is striking about this graveyard is that the grave slabs are set nearly flush with ground, one next to the other so to appear as if the burial ground was tiled.
Almost all the burials are from the first half oh the 19th century and most of them have wonderful decorations with scenes of the crucifixion and other symbols like angels blowing the trumpet, hammers and pincers, scales and keys.
Another thing is that some fragments of human bones are exposed and visible on the ground among the slabs.
At the east end of the graveyard is the Madigan Mausoleum, a curved roofed stone building, dedicated to the memory of Ellen Madigan of Donogrogue who died on May 26th, 1883, and some of her closest family who deceased in later years including her son Denis who died on June 14th, 1888, and his wife Margaret who survived him until December 4th, 1939.

The views from here are of the Shannon estuary and the fuel oil power station of Tarbert.
Unfortunately we had too little time to explore the place more thoroughly, we feared to miss the ferry, so we made it quick.

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