Skirk Church, Laois, Ireland

Skirk Graveyard is home to two structures, one a ruined Church of Ireland ‘Board of First Fruits’ Church dating to 1831 and also the east gable of a late medieval church. The crest of this small hill on which it is situated is also home to a henge and a standing stone (later used as a Motte and Bailey) one field over, which I attempted to visit though nettles and thorns made impassable. The medieval church was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and National Monuments Service website states it ‘collapsed’ in 1835. The gable wall has evidently been used to house a small blocked up mausoleum. Interestingly Samuel Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary of Ireland written in 1837 mentions the Board of First Fruits Church, and a loan of £500 for its construction, described as ‘a small neat edifice’ but does not mention the ruins of the older church. Lewis’ does however make reference to the henge and a ‘cromlech’ (portal tomb) I hadn’t noted on my visit, though as stated the site is perilously overgrown, “There are some Druidical remains, situated on a high hill, and consisting of a circular area enclosed with a stone rampart, and surrounded with a fosse; in the centre of the area is a pyramidal stone, about six feet high, with fragments of several others; towards the eastern side are the remains of a cromlech, and towards the north is a high mound with a flat summit”.

GPS: 52.91441, -7.65883

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