Loughinisland Churches

Downpatrick, United Kingdom

The Loughinisland Churches are the remains of three ruined churches, dating from the 13th to the 17th centuries. They are situated in Tievenadarragh townland, in a large graveyard on an island in Loughinisland Lake, now reached by a causeway.

The earliest recorded reference is to a parish church on the site in 1306. The Middle Church is the oldest, probably from the 13th century. The large North Church was built in the 15th century, probably to replace the Middle Church, and continued in use until 1720. The smallest is the South (MacCartan's) Church, the elaborately carved west door of which has the date 1636 and initials PMC for Phelim MacCartan. This was probably the main burial ground of the MacCartans who had one of their chief seats near the lake.

The North Church was in use until about 1718. Local accounts say that at one time there was an amicable arrangement for the church to be used for both Protestant and Roman Catholic worship, but that a dispute rose one wet Sunday, when Roman Catholics were unwilling to leave the church due to the rain, and free the church up for the Protestants. This displeased the Forde family so much that they dismantled the old church and built a new one in Seaforde which was roofed with the timbers of the old building.



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Founded: 13th century
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Alex Overend (15 months ago)
Looks a lot better in the photos
Jane Britcher (2 years ago)
Beautiful scenery
Michael Spillane (2 years ago)
Lovely setting overlooking the lake
Susan Roth (2 years ago)
The most romantic graveyard I have ever been at with some curious historical facts: Catholic and Protestant people would have held their services in the same church, often one immediately after the other. In 1720 they fell out, the Protestant congregation moved to the next village bringing the church roof (!) with them. This place is a must see spot when you go cycling in this idyllic area of Northern Ireland
Mavis Wilson (2 years ago)
Visited a friend and had a great evening
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