Churches

Shinrone - St. Mary's Church of Ireland
After 1800, church towers became a common feature in the Irish landscape, though normally in the first half of the century, a tower meant a Protestant Church. Many are derelict or ruined today, others are in perfect condition. A characteristic example is the Church of Ireland, Shinrone, which replaced the old medieval church on the same site, architectural fragments of which can still be seen in the church grounds. At a meeting of the Rector, Church Wardens and parishioners of Shinrone in 1811, it was decided to build a new one capable of accommodating a congregation one fourth larger than the old one. It was begun in 1819, a year in which the Board of Fruits, which administered church grants, spent £30,000 of which £2,300 went to Shinrone. It was probably designed by the architect Bowden, who followed the common formula for Board of First Fruits' work, by providing a large rectangular hall for the church itself and a square tower at one end.


Shinrone - St. Mary's Catholic Church

The Catholic Church in Shinrone, built in 1810, and estimated to cost £263, replaced the old chapel at Kilcommon, burned by the militia in 1798. There was a small chapel in Lower Shinrone beside the "Town's River" (1911 map) and it is more than likely that this was a temporary chapel where the parishioners assembled for worship while awaiting the erection of the new church. The Catholic churches in Georgian Ireland had huge congregations and very little funds with which to build. Shinrone Catholic church is a classic illustration of how this problem was solved. It was built in a cruciform shape with separate doors and galleries on each wing. Although the Catholic Relief Act gave legal recognition to Catholic diocesan clergy, the benefits of the Act did not apply to any priest officiating in a 'church or chapel with a steeple or bell.' The prohibition was still on the statute book, when the church was built in 1810, and this is the reason why the belfry was not erected until 1844.


Shinrone - Methodist Church
The beginnings of Methodism in Shinrone go back to the year 1749, when John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, visited the village. It was his third visit to Ireland and he was traveling from Cork to Athlone, via Limerick, Nenagh and Birr. According to William Smith in his Consecutive History of Wesleyan Methodism in Ireland, the first chapel in Shinrone was built in 1790. It is therefore interesting to note that in 1990, Methodism in Shinrone, celebrated the 150th anniversary of its Methodist Chapel, and also the 100th anniversary of its Dissenting Chapel, which was situated close to where the present Methodist church now stands.

Ballingarry - Church of Ireland
The present church of Ireland in Ballingarry, with its spire and minarets, was built in 1856, and replaced the old pre-Reformation church built on the same site in the 12th century. All traces of the Medieval church have disappeared, except for part of a wall used to enclose the Sadlier and Trench burial vault.