Friday 14 May 2010

The Standing Stone: Oughaval Church, Carricksallagh, Co. Laois.

I hope you enjoy this article because this is one of the most unusual church ruins that I have been to. It really is fantastic. The original article on 'The Standing Stone' website links to glossary pages to explain whatever terms you may not be familiar with. I don't link to the glossary here so that you won't be directed away from this blog by mistake. A couple of people have asked me what certain terms mean so I thought I'd mention that. Hope you enjoy this ruin and now we are into the summer months it's a perfect time to go out and see these places.

– On the N80 just outside of Stradbally.
OS: S 582 957 (map 55)
Longitude: 7° 7' 58.25" W
Latitude: 53° 0' 31.99" N
See map at the bottom of the page.

Description and History – When I arrived here I was struck by the sheer size of this ruin and then by its unusualness. This church is quite odd but very striking and I spent much longer here than I usually would a church ruin. St Colman mac Ua Laoighse founded a monastery here in the 6th century but no remains of this foundation survive. St Colman was a follower of St Fintan of Clonenagh and St Columba of Iona before establishing his own monastery. The Lebor na Nuachongbála, or Book of Oughaval was kept here for many centuries and was later renamed the Book of Leinster.

The present remains date from the medieval period and has been through many subsequent phases of rebuilding, mostly at the hands of the local Cosby family who still own much land in this area. Because of the rebuilding the floor of the chancel is higher than that of the nave and the chancel has a huge barrel vaulted ceiling. It is cracked and may be in danger of collapse. The triple window in the E gable end is a later 19th century addition. The small chamber within the nave is the Cosby family vault. There is also a small vaulted chamber underneath the chancel and wall-walk on the N and S walls. This really is a wonderful church in a great location. It is unique.

Difficulty – Easy to get to and there is parking. It is a still functioning graveyard.

This article originally appeared on 'The Standing Stone' and can be found by clicking here.

Looking out of the window in the church.

This triple window is very nice and I'm sure is even better when the sun is shining through it.

The huge barrel vaulted ceiling.

The private burial chamber of the Cosby family.

View The Standing Stone in a larger map


Anonymous said...

really interesting. Is this near the electric picnic? Do they still bury people in the crypt?

Anonymous said...

Another great post from Standing Stone. I love your blog. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

There are elements of both gothic and a form of practical, one might say functional, romanesque, in this site. Do we know which elements are more modern and which are original (even modified original)?

Am I correct in taking from your post the impression that the barrel vaulting is relatively modern? Does that imply that the chancel area was actually in religious use in the last two centuries?

It is a pity that Mr. Cosby couldn't restore the site for his TAC community, since he has already done sterling work for the Russian Patriarchate.


Fitzy said...

I took a trip out to Stradbally today. Its an amazing site. Thank you for telling me about it. Mark F

Anonymous said...

Really interesting site and very well presented

Anonymous said...

Este es un post muy interesante blog. Leí este sitio muchas veces todos los meses y realmente espero ver los muchos antiguos lugares cristianos en Irlanda. Gracias piedra sobre piedra! José

Anonymous said...

Great post. Is the vault concrete or stone and mortar?

Virgo Potens said...

This is a very important apostolate for two reasons. The first is that it is essential that we learn the lessons of the past and remember our parents in faith in our prayers. The second reason is that we should be aware that ruin is an ever present danger that communities of faith should work and pray to avoid.