The Old Church on the Hill

St Catherine’s, Killoe, County Longford, one of the many C of I churches built in the first decades of the 19th century thanks to assistance from the Board of First Fruits: here, as elsewhere, the present building may have replaced an earlier one on the site. On occasion in use for services (although the graveyard remains active, so to speak) St Catherine’s dates from 1824 and benefitted from a board grant of £900 together with an additional £200 from Willoughby Bond of nearby Farragh. That house had been greatly enlarged for Bond ten years earlier, the architect being Cork-born Abraham Hargrave. Accordingly his son John Hargrave was given the job of designing St Catherine’s. Alas, Farragh is no more (demolished c.1960) and nine years after working in the area poor John Hargrave drowned, along with his entire family, while sailing off the Welsh coast.

5 comments on “The Old Church on the Hill

  1. apckireland says:

    Thank you for this.

    As far as I am aware services still take place here.

    Kilmore, Elphin & Ardagh Church of Ireland Dioceses … Ardagh Group of Parishes. This group of parishes is made up of five churches – Ardagh (St Patrick), Moydow, Tashinny (Holy Trinity), Shrule (St Catherine …

    With every best wish,


    • Thank you for getting in touch about this. I found it difficult to tell whether/not the church is still in use on the occasion of my visit and elsewhere online there seemed to be advice that the building had been taken out of service. But I am more than happy to be corrected…

  2. Elizabeth Printy says:

    What a beautiful chapel! Can you provide interior photos at some point?

  3. Hibernophile says:

    ‘Here is the Church,
    Here is the steeple,
    Here are the pews:
    But where are the people?’

    Despite the deteriorating appearance of the exterior, St Catherine’s is clinging on, still holding occasional services in the classic COI rotational manner. One wonders how long such buildings can avoid decommission?

  4. Deborah Sena says:

    Just to note that tourists coming to Ireland have very little opportunity to visit and appreciate churches- particularly more ‘modern’ sites as opposed to medieval abbey ruins. On my commercial tour the practicing Australian Catholics were hard pressed to find out how they could attend mass on the weekend. We went to the shop where they make jewelry with Connemara marble, but were dropped off later in the center of Galway City with no way besides walking to see the marble in the cathedral. On my own later I was lucky enough to see a lovely C of I church (under reno, contractor had door open) in Castlepollard and later SS Peter and Paul in Athlone.

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