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Kilgobbin Church
 

County

Dublin

Coordinates

N 53° 15' 22.38"   W 006° 13' 03.48"

Nearest town

Stepaside

Grid Ref.

O 18927 24356

Map No.

50

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

137

Date of visit

Sunday 5 June 2016

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The church is high on a hill. Seen from the north.


The structure is plain and unattractive seen from the outside, but has some interesting details inside.
The building measures 13 metres by 7 metres and has a porch which measures 2.5 metres each side at the northeast corner. This element of the church was rebuilt in 1983 as it was considered unsafe. Inside this porch some stoneworks have been lined against the northwest wall. These uprights stones might have been parts of a Viking burial site. The porch gives access to the nave of the church. Against the northeast wall of the nave a number of slabs have been mounted. These are Rathdown Slabs, not fine as the ones at Rathmichael Church but significative of the fact that this area was of interest for the Vikings that arrived in Ireland in the 10th century.
Unfortunately these slabs have been defaced by some idiots who marked them with spray paint.
During the restoration works in 1983, a lintel on the doorway was removed only to find out that it was a nice Rathdown Slab and it is believed that this slab used to mark the burial place of a number of soldiers dead at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 and Brian Boru himself buried them when he stopped here on his way to Wexford.

The church was built in 1707 to replace an earlier timber church, and it seems it was the first church to be built in Ireland after the Reformation. The origin of the name is unclear because there are no clues on who Gobbin was, though some theories say that it could have been dedicated to the mason who built it, as Gobain is the Irish for mason. Or one of the several saints with this name.

About 30 metres north from the church is the Cross with the same name. This cross was found during the works for the building of the new graveyard wall to the northeast of the church.


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