Unknown Church, Offaly, Ireland

After leaving the breathtaking Clonmacnoise I wasn’t expecting to come across this beautiful ruined church on High Street near Belmont, Co. Offaly. I spotted the church poking out from beyond the trees and the broken slats on the belfry window drew me in. The area surrounding the church is dense with tall hardwood trees that seem to be the home to a cluster of blackbirds, and I guess being the time of year it is the nests numbered the hundreds. The seemingly ever increasing cacophony of squawking blackbirds added to the disorientating nature of this site. Sadly I was able to find absolutely nothing as of yet about this church, which is unusual and frustrating so any help would be graciously received. During my visit I bumped into a woman who lived beside the church, she had lived there for 36 years and it had always been in a ruinous state though the roof was intact when she first lived in the area, I was only the second person she has ever met visiting the site. If anyone has information about this church please get in contact, its a shame its history is forgotten.

GPS: 53.24464, -7.9351

5 thoughts on “Unknown Church, Offaly, Ireland

  1. HI Ed, What a cool find. I cant find and mention of this church anywhere either. Which is a first for me. Not even the NMS have a record for it. I know a archaeologist in the NRA who may be able to help. I’ll let you know if I hear of anything.

  2. CRUHISKHAN (Half a mile north west of Clononey)

    This is a roofless church with transepts and has a rectangular sanctuary and short west tower. The roof has been removed since the 1973 An Foras Forbartha report.

    https://www.offalyhistory.com/reading-resources/history/offaly-general/churches-and-houses-of-architectural-interest-in-offaly

    First ed. OS map shows the name as ‘Cruhistan’, so prob a bit of aural/oral confusion. Also shows, a rectory (Now a BnB) and a school. Would imagine RCB library would have records: http://ireland.anglican.org/about/42

    In terms of local name, I’d imagine ‘Cruhiskhan’ is a better rendering of original Irish. Probably coming from something like anglicized ‘Cruagh Seskin’ > ‘Craobhach Sescinn’ (‘The branchy/wood of the bog/swamp’).

    Which makes sense when compared with 1769 record from placenames database: ‘The Deerpark of Moystown (and part of the Callows of Tissaran), alongside Cruhistan’ and ‘bog plantation’.

    http://www.logainm.ie/Viewer.aspx?text=fearagalee&streets=yes

    All in all, it sounds like a plantation landscape connected with any one of the surrounding estate houses, with a later (19thC) COI church/school set up in connection. Would imagine if you did a bit of digging, one of those estate families would have some sort of connection.

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