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26 Mar 2020

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St. Doulagh's Church

Near Malahide in Kinsealy is St. Doulagh’s Church which occupies the site of a 7th-century monastic settlement founded by St. Doulagh. Built in the 12th century, the church has many characteristics of early Saxon churches and the original walls are three feet thick.

There are 7 apartments altogether in the church, including a leper’s window, through which the unfortunate victim was permitted to receive Holy Communion and a penitential cell where the incumbent languished until he changed his ways.

Close by the church is a baptistry, also known as St Doulagh’s Well, over which rises an octagonal building. The well is unique in that it is the only surviving detached baptistry in the country. In 1609 the inside was covered with frescoes on the ceiling and walls, including images of St Patrick, St Bridget, St Columcille and St Doulagh dressed as an anchorite. No trace remains as they were destroyed by Sir Richard Bulkeley of Dunlavin on his return from the Battle of the Boyne. Adjacent to the octagonal baptistry is an open-air pool with stone seating, known as St Catherine’s pond. The well was widely known for the curative effects of its water and patterns were held here until rioting started. The patterns were finally suppressed by the clergy in the 19th Century.

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