Work completed on East wall of Kilbarron Church

We’re pleased to say that the conservation work on the east wall of the church has now been completed. The ivy that was putting the wall out of shape has been removed and all the stonework reset and repointed using recommended lime mortar mix.

Our thanks to the stonemason Michael McGroarty and to Mary Roper, the landowner, for the work undertaken. Lastly to the hard-working committee and especially to the Heritage Council who have part funded the project.

Scaffolding in place and work begins

Some pictures of the work


Heritage Week 2022 The Heritage & Bio-diversity of Kilbarron Church

Old Kilbarron Church

We are having our Heritage Week Events on Sunday 21st August at the Abbey Mill Tea rooms starting at 2pm.
Now you might wonder why not hold it at Old Kilbarron Church -well we thought that the conservation work at the church may have begun by then, so it would not fit into our Health & Safety plan to have people on site.  However we hope to have a follow up event at the church once work is completed.

If all goes to plan, the work will begin on the east wall of the church, the week beginning the 22nd August.

Kilbarron is the anglicised form of the Gaelic name ‘Cill Bharrfionn’meaning the church of St Barron. It gives its name to the townland where it is located, to the civil parish as well as the Catholic and Church of Ireland ecclesiastical parishes.and is named after  St Barrann who is believed to have been related to  St Columcille.

In the Beatha Colaim Cille, written by Manus Uí Domhnaill, the King of Tír Connaill  in 1550  he writes,

“Columcille went then towards Assaroe. And he made a stay at the mouth of a little river called the Fuindsennach that issueth into the sea to the north thereof. And he spoke to a certain holy man that was in his fellowship, one Barrann mae Muiredhaigh son of Echaidh son of Conall Gulban, that was a kinsman to him by blood, and he inquired of him where his staff was.

Barrann made answer and said to him, “I cast it at the demons as they went into the sea when we were driving them from Senglenn,”” said he, “and I have not chanced upon it since that time.””

Manus Uí Domhnaill relies extensively on a much earlier biography of the life of Columcille written by  St Adaman or Eunan,his successor at Iona and later the first Bishop of Raphoe in the 7th Century.

Heritage Week 2021 Report

Heritage Week 2021 Report, the Committee were active at Kilbarron Church and presented virtual events on Zoom including a virtual tour of the Church ruins along with the Castle from the sea.

It was #HeritageWeek2021, 14-22 August, so the Conservation Group committee members spent the first morning of Heritage Week clearing by hand this years grass and weeds from the grounds of the ruins of Kilbarron church.

The first cut this year as part of the Don’t Mow Let it Grow to encourage wild flowers and pollinators,

Don’t mow, let it grow – and amazing things will happen!

Committee members at Kilbarron Church

Day 2 of #HeritageWeek2021 : members of the Conservation committee gathered again this morning to continue our work on clearing the grass from the ruins of Kilbarron church and hauling it away so that we give a chance for wild flowers to blossom next year.

One benefit of using old methods that we used to clear the ground, no strimmers, no ear defenders. so we can chat while we work; and we did a lot of that.

The Committee also presented Zoom sessions for Heritage Week including a a virtual tour of the Kilbarron Church site and Kilbarron Castle from the sea.

Cas an fhuaim air le haghaidh tráchtaireachta. Sound ON for commentary. 


The Committee also presented Zoom sessions for Heritage Week including a a virtual tour of the Kilbarron Church site and Kilbarron Castle from the sea.

Heritage Week 2021

Monday 9 August 2021 : Virtual Heritage Week Events

This year the Kilbarron Castle Conservation Group are holding a virtual Heritage Week over three events.

Starting on Sunday 15th August at 1pm with a talk on the Geo-physical survey of Kilbarron Castle which the group commissioned in 2019 and is being given by Heather Gimson from Earthsound Geo-physics.

The next event continues on Wednesday 18th August at 8pm with a slide show of the ruins of Kilbarron Church.

The week’s events ends on Sunday 22nd August at 1PM with a video from the Heritage Week 2019 boat trip showing the ruins of Kilbarron Castle from the seaward side.

All these events are free. To book your place, click here, to send an email to and we will email you the Zoom meeting details.

Heritage Council / Creative Ireland funding 2019

Kilbarron Castle Conservation Group were recipients of Funding from the Heritage Council through the Creative Ireland Programme 2019 to undertake a Geophysical Survey of the castle site and it’s surrounding fields.

Kilbarron Castle Conservation Group were recipients of Funding from the Heritage Council through the Creative Ireland Programme 2019.

With this funding we were able to appoint Earthsound Geophysics of Claremorris, Co. Mayo to undertake a Geophysical Survey of the castle site and it’s surrounding fields with the aim of learning more about the site and to investigate if buildings once existed outside the castle ditch.

Earthsound Geophysics team on site.

The interesting results from the survey have complied in a comprehensive and hope to publish the report here soon.  

Details of the programme are on the Abarta Heritage website ==>

Boat Trip to see the ruins of Kilbarron Castle from the Sea.

The boat trip to see Kilbarron Castle from the sea took place on Sunday 25th August 2019 as part of Heritage Week.

The early start time was due to tide times so it was important to arrive in good time and the first boat left soon after 1.30pm. The boat men were Garrett Reynolds, Ken Henderson and Paul Reynolds who checked to make sure all were wearing their lifejackets. Each trip took about thirty minutes and because it was such a calm day there was very little swell and no soakings Afterwards there were light refreshments in the Marine Centre afterwards and a display about the Kilbarron Castle Conservation Project. See here some pictures of the event.

Clifftop view of the Castle garderobe
What looks like a doorway is actually the exit point for the garderobe- state of the art medieval sewage system!
Arriving back
Some of the people who took the boat trip and some who helped out on the day

Changes to Kilbarron Castle Facebook Posts

28 May 2019

We are now publishing posts on the history of Kilbarron Castle and our work for its conservation on our website as well as Twitter and Facebook. So you may see some changes in the way you see our work on Facebook. We hope that you find these changes will make it easier to follow our work.

Castle view across Donegal Bay toward Kildoney with Benbulben and Inish Murray island.
Courtesy Linda Cleary

Launch of Adopt-A-Stone Appeal

13 March 2019

We are currently fundraising to help conserve the Hourglass Wall at the site of Kilbarron Castle. It formed the north facing wall of the banqueting hall of the castle. It was a later addition to the complex.

Our idea is to get a life size image of the restored wall and add every contributor’s name to a a stone in the picture.

Defending Kilbarron Castle

1 May 2019

The ruins of Kilbarron Castle perched on a rocky promontory jutting into Donegal Bay and surrounded by cliffs on three sides lapped by the Atlantic waves.

The route to the castle on the landward side leads to a narrow causeway over a deep ditch. It must have been a very defensible location but perhaps not too sheltered or comfortable whenever there was a raging Atlantic storm!

AGM 2019

15 March 2019

Kilbarron Castle Conservation Group held their 2019 AGM last night. Over a dozen people in attendance. Officers for the coming twelve months are Chairperson Fergus Cleary, Secretary M. Storey, Joint treasurers M. Reynolds and B. MacAwley. The group discussed future plans for 2019/20 and with the prospects of little funding available this year in the heritage sector how best to keep the project progressing and how best to engage the local community and the wider public who consistently have shown interest in the project to date. We have a few ideas and will bring these to fruition over the coming year.

To reiterate the comments made by the outgoing chairperson for 2018/19
“Finally I would like to express many thanks to everyone for their help and donations over the past year, the Creevy Co-Operative for the use of the Marine Facility for our meetings and events, and the committee and officers in 2018-2019 who gave of their time enthusiasm and expertise to advance the project over the last year. “

Archaeology Ireland

18 April 2019

Reading recently the Spring issue of the magazine Archaeology Ireland when I noticed that the back page advertisement for the Heritage Council features Kilbarron Castle’s ‘Hourglass wall’

The Heritage Council have been very supportive of our project over the last few years and hopefully for us and many other conservation projects, will be in a position to offer grant aid in 2020.