St. Peter’s Church, located in the former industrial textile town of Laragh, Co. Monaghan, is unusual in both its’ corrugated iron and timber construction (known as a tin tabernacle, earning it the nickname locally as the ‘iron church’) and it’s rocky, woodland location.
The Swiss-Gothic design of the church was inspired by travels on the continent in the 1800s by Mill operator James McKean and his wife.
Local rumour suggests McKean had the mill river realigned to create the spectacular site in Aughnamullen parish. The intention being to build a Catholic church to serve the workers of the town. However, following a breakdown in industrial relations, a falling out with the local clergy and the eventual permanent closure of the Irish Laragh Tweed’s factory in 1885; St. Peter’s was built in 1890 and consecrated as Church of Ireland on 13th August 1891.
Although the church was deconsecrated in the early 1960s and fell into disrepair, in 2012 the Laragh Heritage group was formed to undertake refurbishment works.
In 2014, St. Peter’s Church was lovingly restored by the community and officially re-opened.
The church is open to the public on Sunday’s and Bank Holiday Monday’s 12-6pm and is well worth a visit.
For more information check out the Laragh Heritage facebook page.
Check out your local library for a book entitled, ‘Monaghan Studies in local history – essays by NUI (Maynooth) students 2005-2006’, specifically ‘The rise and fall of a village industry Cornacarrow & Laragh Mills 1775-1925 by Mary Frances Kerley.
For more information on tin tabernacle churches check out the wikipedia page here.
St. Peter’s Church, Laragh by Ag Smaoineamh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.