Friday, 5 April 2013

Church of Mary

Above the village of Mulhuddart in the old townland of Buzzardstown, stands the ruins of the Church of Mary. The church which stands on a curved mound affords some nice views of the surrounding area. The curve in the surrounding cemetery wall indicates that a circular enclosure once surrounded the site and suggests that a church be built here in the early Christian period before the coming of the Normans.

The ruin itself is fragmented, and  consists mainly  of a nave and chancel probably dating to the fourteenth century and a tower possibly a bell-tower built onto the western end of the church at some stage in the fifteenth century. The building of the tower would have necessitated the  closing of the western door of the church with the opening of a new door in the north wall of the nave.

The tower, which is vaulted on the first floor, would have been easy to defended in times of danger would have been a place of refuge for the local people. There is a splayed window in the west wall. The walls of the east end of the church survive at foundation level. There are a considerable number of burials within the church and a mural tablet on the exterior of the west wall of the tower.

The church was first referred to in the early 15th century was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1532 Henry VIII granted license to found a fraternity or guild at the site .The church was in poor condition by the mid-17th century and the Civil Survey (1654) records only ‘the walls of a church’ here. Back up Church road between these ruins and Mullhudddart lies an interesting Holy Well on the side of the road.

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