Fallmore, St Deirbhile

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Feature Sets (2)


A small, gabled, single-cell church (l. 12.19 m x w. 4.87 m), now in ruins, located in an isolated position at the tip of the Mullet Peninsular. The church has a narrow ashlar-lined, deeply-splayed E window with an arcuated lintel, and a small, narrow W doorway with inclined jambs and arcuated lintel. Eroded carving is found on the arcuated lintel and on the jambstone supporting the arch. The fabric of the church is comprised of irregular stones interspersed with large ashlar blocks.


Gwynne and Hadcock record that a church on this site in the 6thc. was probably built by St Dairbhile.


Exterior Features


W doorway

Of one order with plain inclined jambs composed of large blocks. A large irregular block of stone forms the arcuated lintel. The arch is defined by two rolls. Within the rolls is a convex band of weathered interlace. A further band of weathered ornament lies below. Above this, and slightly R (S) of the centre is a crude equal armed cross, flanked by geometric ornament. The springer supporting the arch on the R (S) is carved on the reveal with interlace.

h. of opening 4'10
w. of opening at base 2'4"
w. of opening at springing 2'4"

Two rolls define the curve of the arch. These may have contained a band of ornament between them, but there is not enough evidence to say for certain.

The dimensions are taken from Petrie.


Leask (158) notes that 'there is some weathered interlaced ornament on a jamb-stone and incised lines bordering the arch within and without'. Petrie has an illustration showing the interlace on the reveal and the incised lines on the interior arch of the W doorway, but does not mention the carving on the exterior arch (321). Petrie believed the church to be 6thc.

Harbison suggests that the equal armed cross and the surrounding carving on the W face of the W doorway could be a representation in stone of a bronze crucifixion plaque, although he acknowledges that such an interpretation is speculative. (Harbison 1995, 12)

Gwynne and Hadcock list Fallmore in an appendix of early sites thought to have ceased to exist before the 11thc. The single cell structure, large blocks of ashlar and the inclined jambs of the doorway could be indicative of an early date although the round-headed doorway is probably 12thc. Harbison suggests that the S wall may have been extended outwards as the W doorway and E window are not in the expected alignment. (Harbison 1992, 247).


  • M. Killanin M. and Duignan, The Shell Guide to Ireland, London, 1962, 2nd ed. 1967, 118.

  • A. Gwynn and R. N Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses in Ireland, 1970, London, 403.

  • P. Harbison, Guide to the National and Historical Monuments of Ireland, Dublin, 1992, 247.

  • H. G. Leask, Irish Churches and Monastic Buildings, 1955, Volume I, 158.

  • G. Petrie, The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland, anterior to the Anglo-Norman invasion, comprising an Essay on the origin and uses of the Round Towers of Ireland, Dublin, 1845, 320-322.

  • P. Harbison, 'A crucifixion plaque in stone', Archaeology Ireland, Vol. 9 no. 2, 1995, 11-12.

E window, exterior, general view
E window, interior, general view


Site Location
Fallmore, St Deirbhile
National Grid Reference
F 62 18 
now: Mayo
medieval: St Deirbhile
Type of building/monument
Ruined church  
Report authors
Hazel Gardiner