Aghalurcher Church




N 54° 13' 48.6"   W 007° 26' 24.84"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

H 36498 31399

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Thursday 2 July 2015

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The ruins of the church seen from the south.

The ruins of this medieval church stand on the site of a previous church.
The present church was dedicated to St. Ronan, son of Adh Dubh of the royal family of Airgialla, who lived around the end of the 6th and the beginning of the 7th century.

Not much remains of the church, that probably dates from 1447, apart from a section of the northwest wall and the lower part of the northeast (50°) and southeast walls. Behind the locked gate in the northwest wall there's a vault, an addition of the time of the Plantation, and it contains the burials of the Balfour family of Castle Balfour and of the Rathmoran family. There are also a slab carved with the image of a bishop with mitre, crozier and a book, a 12th century stone decorated in the Romanesque style, and loose stones from the ruined church. The gate to this vault is locked.

Excavations revealed that the building could have been large and imposing.
This was an important parish church at the time of the Maguires. This family gave several members to the church as clergy, furthermore this was the family's burial place. But the church was also witness of much violence, with men killed at the gate or at the altar.
It eventually fell into ruin in the 17th century, though the graveyard remained in use, as it is today.
The graveyard has a great collection of grave stones in the folk-art style, typical of this area.
Two beautiful carved stones are set into the gateposts at the entrance of the graveyard.

We also found a geocache case hidden in the graveyard. Geocaching is a kind of a hide-and-seek game where players hide a waterproof case with small items in it. Other users have to find it and log the finding in the tiny logbook included in the case. Another geocache box we had found was on the top of the Knocknarea, under the stones of one of the satellite tombs around Queen Medb's Cairn.

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