A century after St. Patrick’s death and paralleling the growth of monasticism in Ireland in the sixth century, St. Molaise, founded a monastery on nearby Devenish Island. The Reformation and defeat of Ulster’s Irish Chieftains by the English and Scottish Plantation settlers finally brought the monastic communities on Devenish to an end in 1603.
Parish worship moved off the island in 1630 to this site in Monea village. The original parish church here (actually the second church on this site) was burned down in the 1641 Rebellion. The 1641 Rebellion was an attempt by Irish Catholics to wrest control of Ireland from the recently arrived plantation settlers.
The replacement church was reportedly “a plain ugly one” and remained in use until the present church was opened in 1890. Notwithstanding its plainness or ugliness it contained the 1449 Devenish window from the now unused St. Mary’s Abbey Church on Devenish Island, inserted in the east wall in around 1804. The Abbey Church font, of dark grey igneous rock, was also transferred at this time.
Both the window and the font are now in the current Church of St. Molaise. Note that it is only the stone window that dates for 1449 and not the stained glass. The glass you see today is from 1968.
The architect of this gothic design church was Thomas Drew who also designed St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast and was consulting architect for both St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. I do like the Dumfries red sandstone used to dress this church making it stand out from other plainer churches in the area.
Address: Monea village
Directions: Located in village of Monea on the B81 road to Derrygonnely at about 7kms from Enniskillen. Visable from the main road but accessed from a side road.
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries based on many trips to Enniskillen. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Monea Castle – or to start the loop at the beginning go to my introductory entry – “Fare thee well Enniskillen, ………..”