St Brigid's Old Catholic Church

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Freestanding T-plan Gothic Revival Roman Catholic church, built c.1825, with a three-bay nave and wide single-bay transepts with gabled porches to east sides. Three-bay wide, one-bay deep and two-storey porch to front, built 1858, topped by square-plan tower drum. Later converted to the parish hall and currently awaiting renewal and new life. Pitched slate roofs with crenellated corbelled parapets, and cast-iron rainwater goods. Roof to tower drum not visible. Cut limestone turrets to front corners of the front porch and to front corners of nave, with cut-stone crenellated parapets to same and to transept porches. Rendered walls with pilaster and corner buttresses, moulded string course to nave at window sill level, front elevation between floors, tower drum parapet, and channelled rendered walls to front elevation and tower drum. Inscribed date plaque to the front porch. Pointed arch double-light window openings with rendered sills and timber louvers to nave and transepts. Pointed arch openings to tower with rendered reveals and sills, with margined lights to end bays of first floor. Pointed arch door openings to front elevation and transepts with rendered reveals, timber battened doors and traceried overlights. Former convent to west. Set in the graveyard with various dressed limestone headstones and mausoleum. Graveyard bounded by cast-iron spearhead railings on cement rendered plinth course with cast-iron double-leaf gates with cast-iron piers to east. Biodiversity and archaeological workshop The Wild Geese are working on the best way to approach works to improve biodiversity and encourage community use of St Brigid’s graveyard in Portumna. The graveyard formed part of the grounds of St Brigid’s Church, a former parish church. It is planned to undertake some ecological improvements to the site that will enhance its natural biodiversity. As this is a recorded monument, the underlying archaeology has also to be taken into account. A general discussion took place on site in relation to archaeological best practice. Appraisal This solidly built early nineteenth-century former church retains its Gothic Revival architectural character. While it is currently vacant it retains many of its original features. Modest in scale, the level of detailing to the church exterior is very elaborate with features including channelled render, string courses and crenellations. The variety of window and door openings provides interest to elevations. Adjoining a former convent, and graveyard with a fine mausoleum it forms part of an important group of religious structures in this area of Portumna.