St. Mary's Church




N 52° 32' 38.16"   W 007° 23' 24.06"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

S 41375 43796

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Wednesday 21 June 2017

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The west side of the church. The tower is all that remains from the original building of the 1250.

In Callan, apart from the famous friary, there's another gem, St. Mary's church, right in the centre of the town.
The church was originally built in 1250's by Hugh de Mapilton who was Bishop of Ossory until 1260.
In 1460 the original church was demolished and replaced by the current one, only the west (295°) tower was saved.
The church has a central nave aligned with the tower and two side aisles with arcades made of four Gothic arches each. The nave is roofless, but the chancel still retains its roof. A south transept is in the chancel. The tower has stepped crenellations.
Unfortunately the church is locked and access is not possible due to safety reasons.
However it is possible to look at some very interesting details.
The south doorway in the south aisle is in the Gothic style and has decorations on both ends of the moulding. On the west end there's an angel whose gown turns into intertwined vines inside a square frame. On the east end of the doorway there's an angel, but in the above square there's a griffin who bites the vine. In the same wall there's a fine two-light moulded window with floreal decorations on both sides.
In the wall of the north aisle the most interesting thing is the round headed doorway. At both ends of the moulding above the doorway there are angels holding a shield. On the east end there's also a bird that looks like an owl. Above the doorway, framed into a square stone moulding, is the depiction of a head of a woman with a hairdress typical of the Tudor era.
Inside the nave, against the north wall, there are some beautiful carved tombs, like the chest tomb with panels carved by the famous sculptor Rory O'Tunney.
In the surrounding churchyard there are some more modern burials, and some old bones are exposed to the sight!

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