Killevy Old Churches, Ring of Gullion, County Armagh

The important early convent of Killevy was founded towards the end of the 5th century by St Moninna, also known as Darerca or Bline. It remained a house of nuns for almost 1000 years. In 923 the place was plundered by Vikings from Carlingford Lough and in 1146 many people were killed by a great wind that caused damage all over the north. The very long narrow ‘church’ you see below is in fact two churches which have been joined together. The west churches massive lintelled door dates from the 10th century. Monastic life continued at Killevy into the Middle Ages, with the foundation of an Augustinian convent, probably in the late 12th century. There are frequent references in medieval documents, several of them reflecting increasing tensions between church and lay power. 
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The joined churches at Killevy.

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The site has a long history of ancient worship here


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The most notable architectural feature is the steeply-pitched east gable, complete with fine coping stones and large window opening. Although many of the cut stones have been removed, if you look closely you can see the small bar holes in the jambs, the fact that they are mismatched showing that the window was once divided by a central mullion. There are also carved heads, both crowned, either side of the window on the outside.

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Killevy Church dominates the skyline


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The south wall contains the remains of two rectangular window openings and a small wall cupboard, probably used to hold sacred vessels during worship. There are no windows in the north wall, but towards the east end is a curious lintelled doorway, perhaps intended to echo the west door in the adjacent earlier church but clumsy and unskilled by comparison. It may have led out to domestic buildings, including the house of the abbess where Cunisburgh resigned in 1477, but no trace survives and the area is covered by burials.

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Several cut and worked stones can be identified in the space between the two churches, including a large granite slab with a cross in low relief, probably originally used as a grave marker or cover and possibly dating from the 12th or 13th centuries.

Downhill Mausoleum and Old Cemetery

As you approach Downhill Demesne from the Lions Gate entrance, the first thing you will see is the towering “Mausoleum” monument. There’s actually never been anyone buried in there, its really just a remembrance building. Across the road however, lies what seems like a very old graveyard (at the back of the current one), and some of the stones show dates of over 200yrs past. I imagine it might be even older however as when you walk around there looks like even more graves below your feet, with the large ones piled high in the middle. The cemetery looks like something constructed for a movie. Beautiful and creepy.


The Downhill Mausoleum. Much larger than it looks from the road.


The inscription.


Much of it has now fallen down.

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Dominating the landscape of a dark Winters day. Downhill House in the background.

Then across the road hidden away is this….


An old graveyard.


Long since past anyone caring for it.


This stone seems to have a 200yr old epitaph (1817)


An overgrown tomb.

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The place looks like a classic cemetery from some Hammer Horror movie.


This mound has a path that winds around it, but as you walk there are small graves under your feet with tiny headstones lost in the grass. It seems like they piled the graves on top of each other.


The ruins of some old church at one corner of the graveyard. Creepy place.

Tamlaghtard Church, Cemetery, and School, County Derry

Its hard to know where to locate this church based on what it says on Google. Some sites state its in Bellarena, others near Limavady, and some in Magilligan. Safe to say its in County Derry however (parish of Tamlaghtard), and sits just below the stunning Binevenagh plateau. Tamlaghtard is said to mean “the cemetery on the height” which is hardly surprising based on its position. It was built somewhere around 1784 and has a wonderful setting in this designated area of outstanding natural beauty. You can see the little church clearly in the distance if you travel from Castlerock to Derry by train. The denomination here is Church of Ireland, and the grounds contain an old school (now abandoned) which may have doubled up as a robing room. There is also a (creepy) tomb of sorts at the back of the attached cemetery which you can see below.


Tamlaghtard Church. Simply lovely location.


Seen from the front on an early Winter morning 2014.


A distant plane leaves for places afar, above Tamlaghtard Church.


The attached old graveyard, with the imposing Binevenagh cliffs towering behind.


At the very back of the old graveyard lies this tomb in the right hand corner.


One of the headstones on the tomb.


The door was open.


A look inside.


These stone coffins were old based on the dates.


Pretty creepy in here.


In front of the church is this little building which apparently is an old abandoned school (if anyone knows more let me know).


The front of the “school” – the door at the back had blown off in the wind it seemed…


We had a look inside. Very dark, very creepy.


With the flash on, things became much more illuminated.


A little desk. We didnt touch or move anything for the few minutes we had a look inside.


The paint and windows from inside.


Somebody didn’t want anyone to come in this door, that’s for sure.


Obviously electrics had been added at some time. The building is mentioned as being used as a robing room as far back as the late 19th century. Apart from that, the internet seems to give up nothing else about the building. Those little coat hooks on the wall could probably tell a story though.


Is that the book from the Evil Dead movie on the ceiling? I hope not lol.


Time to leave Tamlaghtard Church. So many more things to see in this area.