Tamlaght Church

Map reference: C678313 (2678, 4313)

At Tamlaght (also known as Tamlaghtard to distinguish it from the other Tamlaghs in Derry) there is a very fine holy well and rag-tree.

The graveyard is said to be the resting place of Denis Hempson, known as Ďthe last of the bardsí. He was the star performer at the great rally of harpists in Belfast in 1792. He was born near Garvagh in 1695 and died in 1807. He lived at Umbra in a cottage provided by the Earl Bishop of Derry. In 1745 he played in Edinburgh for Bonnie Prince Charlie. His instrument, known as the Downhill Harp, is preserved in the Guinness collection in Dublin.

Beside the ruined church, at the east end, is a saintís tomb with perforation. It appears to be a low stone-covered grave mound but may be a low building. County Derry has a number of stone-built saintís graves which are usually church-shaped. The best example is at Banagher and the grave at Bovevagh has a perforation. These structures are considered to be reliquaries rather than tombs, and the purpose of the perforation is to allow the faithful to touch the relics. The present church is dedicated to St Aidan.

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