CHURCH ROAD SWORDS
The parish of St Colmcille’s Swords, has an interesting history extending right back to the 6th century. It was St Colmcille who brought Christianity to the area circa 560 AD.
The current Church building on Church Road was constructed in 1827 at a cost of £ 1,820.
The Round Tower dates from the 9th century and marks the site of an old monastery founded by St. Colmcille in the year 560 A.D. St. Colmcille blessed the local well of clear water, thus giving the town it’s name ‘Sord’ meaning clear or pure. The Tower is reputed to have held the remains of Brian Boru after the battle of Clontarf (1014 A.D.) before he was taken to Armagh to be buried.The tower is 73 feet high, 52 feet in circumference, with walls four feet thick. It originally contained five floors. The current entrance at ground level, is of more modern construction, as well as the roof and upper story. The original doorway is/was twenty feet from the ground, and but four feet high. The cross at the top of the tower was placed there in the late 17th century to let people know that it was a Christian Tower [as if they would be unaware].
The square clock tower dates back to the 14th century and added to the ancient abbey. There’s an engraving which dates from 1791 which shows the belfry tower and the remains of the medieval church walls. These walls were taken down in 1830 when St. Columba’s Church was being rebuilt.
St. Columba’s Church Lodge was build in 1870 costing £140.
Back in 2016 when I took these photographs I was told, by a local visiting the graveyard, that although previously in good condition the church building required repairs. There were signs of increasing conservation problems. There was no immediate danger of collapse but condition is such that unless urgent remedial works were carried out the building would quickly deteriorate. The community had vacated the structure following loose plaster which fell into area over font. Complex remedial works was required required.
Now in July 2022 I am unaware of the status of the building but to the best of my knowledge the church is now operational on Sundays. I hope to visit Swords again within the next few weeks.
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