Fontstown Church, Kildare, Ireland

This small parish church is situated midway between Athy and Kilcullen in the area of Fontstown Lower in County Kildare. There is no exact date for the construction of the church but various sources claim it could be 18th century; whereas the national monuments service website states that the church incorporated the north and sidewalls of an earlier medieval church built of rubble limestone, into which a west gable wall was inserted. There has been a church at Fontstown for over 750 years and it was referred to as ‘Villa Fonti’ in Ecclesiastical Taxation records from 1294, where it was described as ‘in waste’. Later, in 1630, the church and chancel are described as being ‘ruinous’ in Archbishop Bulkeleys Visitation of Dublin. As you can see from the pictures the church is inaccessible due to the amount of vegetation and branches inside its walls, a font is recorded inside the structure but this was not visible due to the aforementioned debris. The east gable wall has a round arched window which features some red brick and has a partially destroyed single bell cote. There are two short pieces in the 1930s Dúchas Schools Collection relating to the site one which states that the church was destroyed in what would have been approximately the 1730s, “There is an old church in the middle of the churchyard. It was a Catholic Church. The church was burned down about 200 years ago. No one knows why it was burned.” (Nancy Fleming collector). A second short piece mentions the church also, “My uncle was coming home from Kilmeade. A black dog came out of the ditch and walked with him as far as Fontstown Cross and the disappeared. There is a graveyard at Fontstown Cross.” (Christy Heffernan, collector). The graveyard features several interesting burial markers with the earliest legible grave dating to the mid 19th century.

GPS: 53.05236, -6.89145

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