Clare County Library
Clare History
Home | Search Library Catalogue | Foto: Clare Photo Collection | Search this Website | Copyright Notice

Ordnance Survey Letters by John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry, 1839

Parish of Kilrush (b)

In the Townland of Moylough, about four miles east of Kilrush, are two old Churches dedicated to St. Seanán, the one a small Damliag and the other an Oratory of remarkably small dimensions. The larger Church measures in length twenty two feet three inches and in breadth thirteen feet and its walls are from two feet five inches to two feet ten inches in thickness. All the north wall is level with the ground, but about fourteen feet five inches of the part of the south wall connected with the west gable remain. A considerable portion of the west gable is standing, but the only feature it contained is destroyed, that is, a little window or Belfry which was placed near the top, and over it a small cross of antique form. This cross is now laid prostrate on the ground near the west gable on the outside and broken to pieces; but a pretty accurate idea may be formed of its shape and size from its pedestal, which is perfect, and from the bits of the cross remaining. The pedestal was the finishing stone of the gable. The east gable is in tolerable preservation. It is three feet in thickness and contains a window measuring on the inside seven feet five inches in height and three feet three inches in breadth (width) and on the outside five feet three inches in height and five inches in width at the top, but the south side at the bottom being destroyed, its breadth there could not be ascertained with sufficient accuracy.

The west gable is three feet four inches in thickness and exhibits at both corners the long and the short style of masonry which I have observed to belong to Churches of the middle ages (9th to 13th century) but not to those of the primitive ages of the Irish Church. The east gable does not shew much of this style, but it looks much more ancient than any part of the west gable, excepting a few feet of the lower part of it. Both gables were re-built from the height of five or six feet upwards, but the west gable would appear to have been re-built at a later period than the east one.

About nine paces from the northeast corner of this Church is a small oratory now called Seipeal Beag Sheanain, i.e., the Small Chapel of St. Senanus, measuring on the outside eleven feet seven inches in length, and nine feet eight inches in breadth. Its little walls are two feet seven inches in thickness. The east gable contains a window rectangular at top inside and outside, and measuring on the inside three feet ten inches in height, one foot ten inches in width, and on the outside two feet eleven inches in height and six inches in width. It is covered on the inside and outside with one stone.

The south wall contains a broken little window about four and three quarter inches in width on the outside. The doorway was in the west gable, but now destroyed down to the threshold, where its breadth there is ascertained to be twenty four and a half inches. I do not believe that this little oratory is of the period of Saint Seanan.

Three paces to the north of the west corner of the larger Church are the foundations of a house or small church, thirty feet three inches in length and sixteen feet six inches in breadth. The south wall was two feet nine inches in thickness as ascertained from a distinct part of its foundations remaining.

About five perches nearly due east of the larger Church, there is a square pile of stones called Altoir Sheanáin, the Altar of Senaun.