Dungarvan Church, Kilkenny, Ireland

The ruins of Dungarvan Church are another fine example of the Church of Ireland design that was prevalent during the period of the Board of First Fruits (1711-1833). The church was built in 1812 and pre-dates St Patrick’s Church in Monaghan, the only other First Fruits Church featured on this website. The Board was established in 1711 to fund, through tithes, the building of ecclesiastical buildings for the Church of Ireland. This practice of collecting tithes from parishioners didn’t go without a hitch and an organised resistance to the payment came to a head in 1831 when local clergymen throughout the country were ordered to make lists of all those who refused to pay, naming them ‘tithe defaulters’ in an attempt to shame or coerce them into paying. Nine families related to the Dungarvan area make the list of 127 defaulters in the Kilkenny and Tipperary.

Though the church was built in 1812 it appears the site was ecclesiastical in nature prior to this date with some earlier medieval tombs and stone-markers dotting the graveyard. One of the most attractive aspects to this building is how the tower ‘steps in’ on each level as it rises, it gives an elegant and soft feeling to the site. The church fell into disrepair n the early part of the 20th century as the local church of Ireland community declined.

GPS: 52.58665, -7.09416

12 thoughts on “Dungarvan Church, Kilkenny, Ireland

  1. Dungarvan Church, near Thomastown, Kilkenny, Ireland is very close to my ancestor’s home, called The Grove, which I think must have been once the Rectory for the Church. My family members are marked on a couple of gravestones in the churchyard, and I think they were part of the Church of Ireland community in the area who moved away to Dublin in the late 19th century and early 20th century. It is a pity to see a building of this historical importance being left to deteriorate — do you know if there might be any chance of buying this church and renovating it? I would be interested.

  2. Some years ago my late uncle was repairing the wall
    between the old and new graveyards in Dungarvan. He found a stone with a face carved in it and, rather than have it sit in a museum, he set it into the wall, facing the new grave yard. If you visit again, see if you can spot it.

    Incidentally, my late grandmother told me she remembered, when she was a young girl, a wedding taking place in the church you so beautifully described.

  3. These are wonderful comments – it is a very important place in my family history.. there must be some early photos somewhere of this church in the early part of the 20th century?

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