Sunday, 23 December 2012

A View the Foyle Commanding - Upper Moville Parish Church

I suppose the bean counters at Church House have to bow to financial pressures and demographics but it is still sad to see a church falling into decrepitude and being sold. Such is the fate of Upper Moville Parish Church at Tullynavin, Redcastle. The Church and grounds, but excluding the graveyard to the rear and the grave of Capt. The Hon Ernest Grey Lambton Cochrane which is situate to the front of the Church, was recently being advertised by a Donegal estate agent. The guide price was fifty thousand euro. This does seem quite cheap but I suppose there are several factors depressing the figure, the state of the Irish property market being the prime one. I wonder if a sale has been agreed as yet?
I knew that the church had not been used for some time but I hadn't realised that it is over twenty years since its doors closed. That does rather beg the question why the decision to sell was not taken during the boom days of the Irish economy.
The present church was consecrated in August 1853. It replaced a smaller building which had been constructed by the Cary family of Castle Cary in 1741 as a private chapel and which then became a chapel of ease before becoming the parish church with the division of the Moville Parish into, "Upper," and "Lower." The ruined walls of the original church are still to be seen in the graveyard and indeed there are several graves within the walls. Lewis in his, "Topographical Dictionary," of 1837 reports that the original church was too small and that there were plans for the construction of a new and larger building. Clearly these plans took a few years to come to fruition.

The present building is I think quite picturesque with its bellcote and well proportioned lancet windows and the septfoil window on the west wall. Hopefully the planners will ensure that any conversion is carried out in a sympathetic manner. It was suggested to me that it might be a good idea for the nearby Redcastle Hotel to buy the property and use it for civil ceremonies. This strikes me as an extremely good notion, but I suspect that the cost of renovation works would just not make it financially worthwhile.

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