Ruins of Church, St Johns Point, County Down

St Johnspoint Church – Just a bunch of stones?

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Giovanni below was not impressed with St John’s Church. And he raises an interesting debate.

Review St Johns Point Church

What is the value of such a site? Why are ruins important? Why would an underwhelming site like this small Church even survive?

Ruins of Church, St Johns Point, County Down
Ruins of Church, St Johns Point, County Down

Official government department offers a vague non-committal description, an little bit more assured when it just describes what they are looking at.

This small church, of the 10th or 11th century, marks the site of an early establishment associated with Eoan (John) son of Cairland, and in medieval times it was a chapel. It is an excellent example of a small, pre-Romanesque church with a lintelled west door with sloping jambs, antae to east and west and a south window.

 

Church ruins, St Johns Point, County Down
Church ruins, St Johns Point, County Down

Are sites more important in ratio to how people can engage with them?

  1. Selfie Rating – This church scores low. “Look how cool I am with a ruined mediocre Church behind me!”
  2. History Lesson – Are you a hard core connoisseur of sloping jambs and antae?
  3. Interactive games – Counting stones? Find the light house?
St Johns Point Lighthouse, from ruins of church, County Down
St Johns Point Lighthouse, from ruins of church, County Down

The excellent http://irelandsholywells.blogspot.com blog wonders if this building was a special sort of Church one dedicated as a shrine:

It’s somewhat sad that here may lie a little shrine church with the body of a saint and all those he once inspired and all we know about him is his name and nothing more.

This blog makes some other interesting observations. The antae was normally used for wooden roofs:

it’s obviously pretending to be something that it’s probably not

And nothing is known of St John, son of Cairlánd, from whom this area and church takes it’s name.  And in 1744 local historian Walter Harris in 1744 wrote that the church was still intact.

In the photo below you can see its Holy Well and also a ballaun stone possibly used as a mortar for dyes and medicine.

Holy Well, St Johns Point, County Down
Holy Well, St Johns Point, County Down

A lot of people would have used this Holy Well. People came with their troubles and tried to have them fixed. Even in this selfie generation, do we continue to come to sites like this to have some aspect of our selves “fixed”. We are looking for something just as ephemeral and and outside our control.  Is this a bunch of stones, or is it something a lot more precious. Or is it us who are pretending to be something that we are probably not?

 

 

Reference

Saint John’s well, St John’s Point, County Down –  http://irelandsholywells.blogspot.ie/2012/04/saint-johns-well-st-johns-point-county.html

https://eoceanic.com/sailing/harbours/europe/%20ireland/Donegal/200/130/moore%E2%80%99s_point

 

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