Historic St Lachtain’s Church in Freshford to open as a visitor attraction

Brian Keyes

Reporter:

Brian Keyes

The doorway at St Lachtain's in Freshford

The doorway at St Lachtain's in Freshford

St. Lachtain’s Church of Ireland, Freshford, is opening as a visitor attraction next month for the first time. The venue will be known as St. Lachtain’s Church Arts and Crafts Centre.
The official launch takes place next Saturday June 2 at 11.30 a.m. and all are invited. Mr. Pat Nolan, President Kilkenny Archaeological Society, will launch the project.
Important site
St. Lachtain’s is one of the most important religious sites in Co. Kilkenny. The Heritage Council’s conservation plan, published in 2004, states it is “a sacred place of great antiquity.” It is one of the oldest sites with continuous worship since its foundation not just in the county but in the country.
The church building itself is of historical, architectural and archaeological significance. It was renovated over a ten year period (2004-2014). The 12th century Hiberno-Romanesque doorway is the best known aspect of the monument but there are other significant elements to the building. The survey of the graveyard published in 2014 brought added interest to the site all of which culminated in this decision to open it to the public for the summer months of June, July and August. Opening times will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11.30a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
A continuous exhibition of local arts and crafts will be on view while the church is open with items on sale to visitors. Admission is free but donations will be welcome.
A new attraction is a magnificent patchwork wall hanging created by Phyllida White which will be unveiled at the launch.
In recent years St. Lachtain’s was the venue for lectures and concerts. It is hoped to develop this aspect over the coming months starting with an event during Heritage Week at the end of August.