At a Glance
County Carlow
OS Map 68
OS Coordinate S 724 461
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Ecclesiastical Ireland Home

Ullard, Co. Carlow

Location:From Graiguenamanagh take R 705 north for about 5 kilometers, then take a right turn sign-posted for Ullard Church. The church is approximately one kilometer down this narrow road on the left. There is a small carpark here with ample room for several cars.

Dimensions: Overall, Ullard church measures approximately 8 meters wide by 12 meters in length. This does not include the extension made by the handball court at the rear.

Features: Paraphrasing a description from goireland.com, Ullard is "a 12th century romanesque church roofless ruin, consisting of a nave and chancel. The doorway has been much tampered with (possibly in the 16th century when the innermost order of the doorway was constructed). Over the window above the doorway is a sculptured panel showing the meeting of two people. It may have formed part of the original doorway, as at Freshford. The worn heads above the doorway are said to represent St. Moling, the founder of the church, and St. Fiacre. The chancel also bears some Romanesque features, but was partially blocked up (in the 16th century?). An interesting feature is the vault under the chancel, which was necessary to keep the chancel on the same level as the nave, as the church is built on the slope of a hill. The north wall of the chancel was widened in the 15th century and a staircase built into the thickness of the wall."

Despite the possible "tampering" when reconstructed, this doorway still possesses some fine chevrons, zoomorphic heads, beading and evidence of human faces.

Comments: While it seemed a bit of a desecration to build a handball court utilizing the back of a church ruin that has been standing for some 800 years, it is also entirely possible that the ball alley hasn't compromised the integrity of the building itself. If people were actually using the court for recreation on a regular basis, it might have helped deter vandalism. The court apparently hasn't been used much recently, though, as the timber on concrete viewing gallery over the back wall is quite decrepit and actually dangerous to climb onto.

History:, A monastery here is said to have been founded by St Fiachre in the sixth century. St Fiachre later moved to France and founded the celebrated monastery at Meaux. He is the patron saint of gardeners and taxi drivers French cabs are often known as fiachres in his honor.

Other Items of Interest: Behind the church, a handball court has been built and at the corner of this stands a granite High Cross with much-eroded but still recognizable carving. O.S. maps show a well in the field beside the church and in this field are two large boulders in which bullauns can be found. There are several interesting 18th century headstones featuring simple carving. Near the carpark, a very mature tree has survived those who have left their initials carved in its trunk.

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