Balrothery Old Church

Map Reference: O198612 (3198, 2612)

Location: Visible from R132, about 2km S of Balbriggan

Although there is little evidence the style of building suggests that the old church tower here may date to the early 16th century. At its NW corner there is a round turret and at first glance it appears to be a Round Tower, similar to that at Lusk. However closer examination shows that the turret is an integral part of the square belfry. It houses the spiral stairway. The upper portion is of smaller diameter than the lower portion.

The top storey of the main tower has a two-light window at each face and the east face has a bell-cote. Lower down in the west wall is a two-light window with ogee heads and a square moulding with one mask.

On the east wall just below the window is another mask.

The present church was built in the 19th century. It is no longer in use. The churchyard has mainly 20th century memorials but there some very fine 18th century stones. A lengthy memorial on the outer north wall of the belfry is to the Hamilton Family from Finnebrogue, Tyrella and other Co Down locations.

The small castle to the south of the church is about four storeys high. However it is now completely overgrown and totally inaccessible. The following notes were made in 1987 “The top incorporates a lot of brick and the original doorway in the south wall is now blocked. Above this are some small windows including one with a round head. There is a fine window in the north wall. In the south wall, about first floor level, there is a slop stone. The large openings in this wall apparently led to another building which is now totally removed.”

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