Road Trip Day 2-Our Lady of Lourdes

Day two of our architectural road trip followed on from Day one with a visit to another Liam McCormick church called Our Lady of Lordes in Steelstown. It’s amazing how each of McCormicks churches vary so much in materials, form, and spatial quality. Compared to the four churches we visited on day one, this one was completely different again.


The interior is dominated by the heavy wooden mass of the angled roof, seemingly floating above your head. In a completely different sense to the church in Cresslough, Our Lady of Lourdes resists celebrating any exterior views, and disconnects itself from the outside, with the only windows lining the base of the walls.


The ark made by Noah is brought to mind. Whilst sitting inside the church, any sense of the houses, road, or people outside, are forgotten. The pitched roof, wooden cladding, and dim lighting create a very incubated and inward looking atmosphere.

After the visit to Our Lady of Lordes, the rest of the day was filled with the drive down to Dublin, with a quick stop at the airport to look at de Paor architects cafe inside Terminal 2, a walk around Temple Bar, and an early night in before the antics of Day three began.



Road Trip Day 1. Liam McCormick churches.

This week I am embarking on a short architecture road trip in Ireland. My Uni has been kind enough to allow us all an ‘outside week’ to explore and study whatever we like, on a kind of self guided learning trip.

Today we took a mini bus and set out to visit four of Liam McCormicks seven churches of Donegal. Unfortunately the Chapel at Burt was closed for renovation today, but If you would like to see a previous post I’ve written about it click here. 

First stop was the unique Star of the Sea Chapel at Desertegney, (again to see a previous post I’ve written of this church click here) with the next stop being St.Peters in Milford. Vastly different from Star of the Sea, this building felt very Aalto-esq to me, with wood and brick providing a sombre, dark interior.

Unlike Star of the Sea Chapel, this churches fixtures and furniture seemed much more considered and complimented the architecture. The varnished wood reflected the windows light and patterns up onto the ceiling, constantly holding your gaze upwards.

The final stop was by far my favourite. St.Michaels in Cresslough was completed in 1971. Set in a craggy landscape with Muckish mountain in its backdrop, it mimics its surroundings and landscape perfectly.

A beautiful exterior feature, similar to a detail at Burt chapel, was how water from the roof gutter reached the drains on ground level.

The collected water from the gutters is allowed to trickle down a spiked metal chain, and slowly collect in a still pool at the bottom.

Inside, the chapel takes on a curving fan shape, opening up on the right to take on the view of the mountain. Stain glass windows have not been used in the main chapel, leaving a clean, white light. The smaller side chapels instead showcase deep set, Ronchomp like coloured windows.

I could have sat in St.Michaels for hours it was just so serene and quiet! Let me know which of the churches you like most. Day two of the trip coming soon!