Valleymount (An Chrois) Church and Village

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Callaghan's Well at Valleymount
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Title

Valleymount (An Chrois) Church and Village

Subject

Heritage Site

Description

This small pretty village contains an old schoolhouse, a forge, a sweathouse and a distinctive church.

Creator

ActiveMe Tourism Media and Heritage Services

Source

Interviews and Local Research

Publisher

Wicklow County Council

Date

Oct 2015

Contributor

http://www.buildingsofireland.ie/niah/search.jsp?type=record&county=WI&regno=16401002
http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/IrelandGenWeb/2005-02/1107801575

GPS Location

53.107040, -6.525157

Short Interpretive Text

This small pretty village contains an old schoolhouse, a forge, a sweathouse and a distinctive church. Valleymount Church was built in 1803 in a Mexican style designed either by a former priest inspired by churches he saw on a visit to Malta or by parishioners who had visited or worked in New Mexico. The church contains beautiful distinctive Harry Clarke stained glass windows.

Interpretive Text

The small pretty village of Valleymount contains an old schoolhouse, a forge, a sweathouse and a distinctive church. The Irish name for the village is An Chrois, meaning a crossroads.

Valleymount Church, a detached four-bay single-storey Roman Catholic Church was built in 1803, with its distinctive pinnacled façade and porch added later, around 1835. Its exotic style is locally attributed to either a former priest inspired by churches he saw on a visit to Malta, or to parishioners who had visited or worked in New Mexico. The building is a fine example of local building and stone masonry skills. The porch is constructed in granite with pilasters rising above the level parapet into piers topped with tall decorative pinnacles. The entrance consists of a Tudor-arched timber double door with moulded dripstone. The majority of the windows have pointed arch heads with stained glass interiors. The stained glass windows date from the 1930s with those to the side aisles by Harry Clarke and those to the chancel by Hubert McGoldrick.

The old forge is located nearby. Tommy Tipper was the blacksmith at Valleymount until his death in 2008. The forge was the social centre of the town and a place where the men gathered and discussed farm news and sports. Cyril Cusack filmed a scene for the movie The Outcasts (1982) in the old forge. The post office and only shop in the village owned and run by John Mahon closed in 2006.

The pub The Star Inn is owned by Leo O’Connor. It was originally built in 1836 and was owned by Leo’s father Edward O’Connor during the war years. Edward had a turf lorry and transported turf from the local area to the Phoenix Park in Dublin, where it was distributed throughout the city. There was such a demand that Edward used to transport the turf into the night, in an effort to keep the institutions in the city supplied.

St Kevin’s Way follows in the footsteps of St Kevin through the hills of Wicklow to Glendalough where legend has it he spent the rest of his life in solitary prayer and contemplation. After Kevin’s death in AD 618, Glendalough became a centre of piety and learning. Medieval pilgrims came from far and wide to visit Kevin’s tomb, and the alternative starting points to the walk reflect the different directions from which they are likely to have travelled. While the main route starts in Hollywood, an alternative route comes from Valleymount. The paths meet and join at Ballinagee Bridge.

There is a sweathouse in the townland of Annacarney near Valleymount. It is on private land and well camouflaged against the bank. It measures 2.2m in height and c.2m in diameter with a small entrance. The interior has a corbelled roof onto a large centre roof-stone. Mainly used in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, sweathouses were thought to help with aliments and with maintaining general health and wellbeing.

Scenes from the film This is my Father (1998) featuring Aidan Quinn and James Caan were filmed around Valleymount. Also Braveheart (1995) was filmed on location near Valleymount. The film starred Mel Gibson and a consequence of the project was the creation of a route around the lake called Braveheart Drive

Parking Available

Yes

Category of Interest

Architectural, Cultural,

Opening Times

The church is open to the public during the day and mass times

County

Wicklow

Nearest Town

Blessington

Geolocation

Social Bookmarking

Comments

Citation

ActiveMe Tourism Media and Heritage Services, “Valleymount (An Chrois) Church and Village,” Lakeside Heritage Trail, Blessington Lake, accessed October 23, 2017, http://wicklowheritage.omeka.net/items/show/12.