Tullyvallen Old Church is the charming ruin of a Board of First Fruits funded Church of Ireland structure erected by Archbishop Robinson in 1775. It lies just outside the small town of Newtownhamilton, which was established circa 1770 by Alexander Hamilton. The whole area had been known as Tullyvallan prior to the Plantation of Ulster, from the Irish Tulaigh Uí Mhealláin, meaning ‘O Mealláin’s hillock”. The church was not in use for very long as it was replaced by a newer structure, named St John’s, nearer the town in 1867. The church must have been in a very poor state by 1837 as Samuel Lewis’ ‘Topographical Dictionary of Ireland’ describes, the church, for the repair of which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £106, is a plain edifice”. Kevin V.Mulligans ‘Buildings of Ireland: South Ulster” (2013) describes the building as being ‘built to one of Thomas Cooley’s ‘standard’ designs’. Cooley was an English born Irish architect who was involved in the building or designing of several prominent Irish buildings such as Dublin’s City Hall (formerly the Royal Exchange), The Royal Hospital in Kilmainham and the Four Courts.
The church is now in quite a ruinous state, one of the most interesting aspects of it is that its west wall doesn’t appear to ever had windows, something I have rarely seen before, I could be incorrect but the brickwork doesn’t appear to show any signs of reconstruction. The church is still accessible but very dangerous as many trees have now made it their home. On my visit the graveyard was virtually unapproachable due to the level of growth enveloping it.
GPS: 54.16828, -6.58039