Not far from where Kerry and I are staying in Midleton, lay the ruins of an old Church of Ireland parish church and graveyard. Circa 1525-1575 what remains of the church is pretty scarce, but the head stones that are scattered throughout the cemetery are in relatively good condition, many are readable and a few are even still maintained.
A few days ago, on one of our many walks, Kerry and I stumbled across this place. At first I wasn’t sure about going inside; it was muddy, deserted and kinda creepy! But the taunting became too much so I gave in and I’m pleased I did. On the banks of the Owennacurra river between the Ballinacurra/Midleton border, the views from the graveyard are peaceful yet powerful. As you follow the horrendously muddy trail through the winding ‘footpath’ you get a real sense of being alone in this place, it is silent and your imagination is free to run wild. I won’t lie, it definitely feels a little eerie but at the same time, beautiful. Wandering through you can see the aging headstones, there are several rather ornate and imposing looking ones, others just mounds of decaying, weed covered stone.
The church itself is now nothing but a rear wall, housing a little window and covered with ivy (I think!) As you venture up the unstable verge, through the cast iron gate and in to what would be the church, the visible signs of aging become very apparent. It’s stone walls are crumbling, barely able to hold its own weight, the ground is over run with more weeds, vines and the obligatory litter, fag boxes, beer cans, crisp bags, porn mags, all the usual signs of a misspent youth.
The only noise you can hear besides the crunching of stale leaves underfoot, is the high pitched chirp of the many many birds that live here. I was lucky enough to see a Robin (one of my faves!) It filled me with glee and took my mind off the thick covering of mud that was beginning to completely ruin my boots!
This place was a brilliant find, for that mere 30 minutes I was transported to a simpler time and even though I am not a religious person, I found a sense of greater importance nestled amongst the stone walls and aging graves. It was well worth the muddy boots and initial trepidation!