St. Osnadh`s Church in Kellistown

St. Osnadh`s Church in Kellistown is a ruined nineteenth-century Church of Ireland church with remains of the medieval church behind. Situated on an elevated site overlooking the rich rural countryside, this ruinous First Fruits church dates from 1810. It has an austere simplicity and comprises a three-bay nave with lime-rendered walls and pointed windows. Furthermore, it also has a porch on the north side, and a three-stage, west tower with crenelations and pinnacles. The earliest church to occupy the site was a monastery associated with St. Osnadh. And a round tower survived here until the nineteenth century. Then, it was removed during the building of the Church of Ireland church.

One of many Anglican churches built in Ireland during the ” First Fruits” Act.

So, Catholics were expected to pay tithes for funding their building. It caused much resentment as these buildings occurred at the same time as Catholic emancipation. And this tithe tax was unfair. The Catholics eventually refused to pay. Lots of these abandoned churches are all over Ireland. It would be nice to see them used and saved from dereliction.

Moreover, the site is strongly associated with St. Patrick’s. So, the medieval church whose remains can be seen behind the nineteenth-century church was dedicated to him. The remains reveal a large rectangular structure built from granite boulders. There is a small piscina and a large fragment of a finely dressed polygonal font can also be seen.

In the thirteenth century, Kellistown was settled by the Anglo-Normans. And the church was given to the Augustinian Priory of Kells, Co. Kilkenny. So, the present remains probably dates from this period.

Besides, Kellistown was the site of several famous battles. Including one in 1398 when Roger Mortimer, Royal Lieutenant of Ireland was killed while battling with the O’Byrnes and other Gaelic chiefs.”

– source Carlow Trails of the Saints

St. Osnadh`s Church is beautiful and photogenic but sad. What`s more, it is an excellent view from St. Osnadh’s Church to Mount Leinster.

Location of St. Osnadh`s Church in Kellistown:


Blogger. Volunteer. Enthusiast of photography, nature, architecture, and cultural events. Since 2014 living in County Carlow in Ireland.

2 thoughts on “St. Osnadh`s Church in Kellistown

  1. Thank you for writing this very informative piece!

    As someone who grew up in this area, I was always curious about the steeple … amazing location & view.

  2. Remember the well of Saint Patrick being visited on his feast day 17th of March in the field below the church. My mother and a lot of neighbouring people visited the Well on that day.They also used to pray for the souls of the deported in the church graveyard

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