Stripped not just of contents but also all character, this is what remains of the former Presbyterian church in Creggs, County Galway. Outside Ulster, there were always relatively few Presbyterians outside faith, and this is a rare example of such a building in Connaught. It opened for services in 1863 but clearly never attracted much of a congregation as the church was closed just over sixty years later in 1925. The west front displays a playful engagement with form, the Gothic arched doorcase below a trefoil window, and then on the tower above, and slightly recessed, a circular opening below rounded arch. The roofless walls now stand, forlorn and purposeless, in a puddle of gravel.
I’ve heard from a Church of Ireland friend, that many of these churches never really had congregations that amounted to much. Apparently, according to him, it was based on the
idea that if you build or plant a church a congregation will manefest, which was not always
the case. Nietzsche springs to mind, “What are all these churches, if they are not tombs and sepulchers of God”….
Many are almost like family chapels, built in the grounds of, or across the road from, Presbyterian family farms, presumably just for the extended family and their staff. Now, with the family gone, they are frequently rather odd-looking barns or machinery sheds, or more often a roofless ruin. There is a beautiful example on the Castlebaldwin to Ballymote road in Co Sligo, still just about hanging in there, but not for long, I fear.
Although the church is a roofless shell there is a degree of care shown. The building is not burdened with heavy vegetation, no litter or graffiti. Wish many more ruins were as well cared for.