Rathbarry Church




N 51° 33' 58.08"   W 008° 58' 22.38"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

W 32553 35292

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Sunday 12 June 2016

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The churches seen from the southwest corner of the old graveyard.

We wanted to visit Castlefreke Castle, but we soon realized that it's a private property and cannot be accessed. We tried to get as close as possible to it, but eventually we chose to follow the signposts to these ruins.
These two abandoned churches are about 600 metres southeast from the castle. They stand inside a rectangular enclosure which also surrounds an old but still in use graveyard. The two churches are an old parish catholic church later replaced by a Church of Ireland church built in 1825 by the Freke family.
The catholic church is a totally ruinous building which has been fenced off for safety reasons. The west (250°) gable is missing and a wide breach stands where the main doorway was.
The east wall has a nice three-light Gothic window and along with the south wall is very much overgrown. The north wall has a window.
The CoI church is in better conditions. The entrance to it is through an attached porch which leads to the nave from the south. The west side has a two-light window up high in the wall and two lancet windows at the ground level. This wall also has two buttresses. Once in the church the most beautiful thing is the mosaic in the chancel. On both the side walls of the chancel are panels with the Christogram and fleur-de-lis. Under the three-light east window there are two panels with fleur-de-lis and panel with the Alpha and Omega symbols, and the words "Till He Come".
There's a north transept and two-light windows in all walls. At the northwest corner of the church there's a belfry square tower with pinnacles and crenellations at the roof level.
Between the two churches is a mausoleum with a high-pitched roof still in position. The doorway has a Tudor arch around a padlocked iron door. A moulding ornates the top of the arch, and above it there's a Latin cross carved in bas-relief.
We couldn't visit Castlefreke Castle, but these two churches were a nice reward.

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