Killilagh Church and Graveyard

The ruin of 15th century Killilagh Church, or Cill Ailleach, which means “church of the cliffs”,  sits atop a hill overlooking the sea, the Doolin countryside and the majestic Cliffs of Moher. Built in 1470, it served the people of the area until the church was built in 1840, about a quarter mile away.   The story is told that in 1645 Cromwellian forces burned the roof off the church during mass. After Killilagh ceased to be used as a place of worship, it began to be used as a burial ground. The earliest grave dates from 1860, the latest 1985.   I found this place completely by chance.  It was only a mile up the road from our lodging the night before, and I happened to notice the site as we were preparing to head out of Doolin.  I quickly developed an amazing connection to this place.  It was an absolutely beautiful and serene setting, and we had the luxury of being the only living souls there at the moment.  Off the beaten pathway, this site had an incredible authentic feel unspoiled by any pretense of trying to market itself.   It was exactly what you might imagine for an rural irish church ruins, a disheveled fence along a country road, unkept tall grass, amazing gravestones, and the ruins of the building, within eyeshot of the sea.  It was also amazingly quiet, with only the sound of the sea breeze blowing interupted by an occasional birdsong.


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