Survey Data

Reg No

30332017


Rating

Regional


Categories of Special Interest

Architectural Artistic Archaeological Historical Social


Original Use

Church/chapel


In Use As

Heritage centre/interpretative centre


Date

1825 - 1830


Coordinates

150316, 227935


Date Recorded

19/08/2009


Date Updated

--/--/--


Description

Freestanding limestone former Church of Ireland Church, dated 1828, with three-bay nave elevation, gabled apse flanked by gabled chapels to east end, three-stage square-plan tower to west end with shallow gabled projections to north, south and west sides, with roofless remains of thirteenth-century church projecting from same sides. Now in use as heritage centre. Pitched slate roofs with slate ridge tiles and stone copings, and cast-iron rainwater goods. Octagonal-plan cut-stone chimneystack over nave east gable. Crenellations to top stage and octagonal spire to tower. Snecked walls having tooled quoins and string courses. Pilasters to corners of top stage of tower. Lancet window openings to nave, double-light to middle bay of side walls and triple-light to east gable, having chamfered surrounds, hood-mouldings with carved stops and replacement timber windows. Pointed windows to chapels with chamfered surrounds and with moulded string course below and parallel to gable copings. Double lancet windows to top stage of tower, with chamfered surrounds, hood-mouldings and timber louvers. Pointed arch door opening to tower having tooled surround with timber panelled double-leaf door and stone threshold. Interior of church redesigned in 1999 to incorporate Heritage Centre. Marble memorial plaques located inside front entrance. Medieval ruins comprising rubble limestone walls with pointed-arch window openings having hood-mouldings and Y-tracery with triangular and diamond lights. Remnants of segmental-headed window opening to chancel north gable, segmental-arch door opening to south side of nave with tooled surround. Church set within graveyard north of Market Square and enclosed by rubble boundary walls.

Appraisal

This site plays an important role in the heritage of Athenry town. It contains the remnants of Saint Mary's Church, the former parish church of Athenry. Apparently founded about 1240, it became collegiate by order of Archbishop O' Murray of Tuam in 1484. It was destroyed in 1574 by the Earl of Clanricard's sons. In 1828, the present-day church was built in its chancel and was in use by the Church of Ireland until recently. The finely crafted stonework and elegant spire contribute greatly to the character of the building. In 1999 the interior was re-designed to incorporate the Athenry Heritage Centre.