Costello Memorial Chapel, smallest in Europe

The smallest chapel in Ireland

Situated in the heart of Carrick on Shannon Town lies the smallest Chapel in Europe and the second smallest in the world the by the name of Costello Memorial Chapel.

At only sixteen feet long by twelve foot wide, the Chapel only covers an area of 192 feet.

Costello Memorial Chapel

We decided to take a look and do a bit of research on this little chapel, here is what we found.

The story of the chapel

This fascinating little chapel was erected by Edward Costello and is to mark his devotion to his wife, who unfortunately passed in 1877 at the now slender age of 46. Mr Costello, a farmer near Carrick moved to the town in the early 1800’s and set himself up in business.

When his wife passed, Mary Josephine, he got to work on the memorial Chapel in her honour and proceeded with getting it started. It was moving gesture and a show of love and also a last resting place for his wife and himself.

Inside the Chapel

It was dedicated on Aprill 22, 1879 and after the consecration ceremony, Mrs Costello body was placed in a sunken space just inside and to the left of the entrance, and was covered with a slab of specially made glass. The body, had been embalmed when Mrs Costello died, and had been cared for in the interim by the marist nuns.

Mr Costello passing

2 years after Mary Josephie passed, Mr Costello himself died in early March 1891, and likewise his remains also in a metal coffin were placed in a sunken space to the right of the entrance. Again a thick glass lid was placed over this vault too.

Mass was actually celebrated in this chapel on every first Friday of the month from the time of its consecration to Mr Costello’s death, but ever since no religious service has taken place in it since. The Costello Memorial chapel now lies tucked in between two more recent buildings in the heart of town.

Some more info on the chapel

So where is the smallest chapel in the world

So the costello memorial chapel is the second smallest in the world where is the smallest?

The smallest chapel in the world is the ‘The Living Water Wayside Chapel’ located in the Niagara region of the U.S.A and is known in the Guiness book Of Records as being the smallest in the world covering just 78 feet, Making this more than half the size of the Costello Memorial Chapel.

Other heritage visits we have made

Since moving to Ireland we have started looking at local historical and heritage sites around us. A visit to the Templetogher Mill which has been beautiful restored to its former glory by the local community.

We visited the town of Killala were we took a look at the Round Tower, and old lookout tower used during the French Rebellion.

A favourite of ours and one we take much joy in is visiting many castle ruins. Looking at the histories of the castles and manor houses and who and what they were used for and used by. A few of the castles ruins are listed below

Templetogher Mill, The Community Project

That heritage sign

For 2 years on the way to work I drove past a sign on the road which read heritage area. With a lack of time I never quite made it there. One sunny afternoon I had a hour to spare I decided to have a look at this site known as the site of the Templetogher Mill.

Location

Located in County Galway but very close to the Roscommon border lies the town of Williamstown.

Plan your route with Google maps

Templetogher Mill

Templetogher Mill is the main feature of this heritage site and is a community restored corn mill, featuring a corn drying kiln nearby. The last family to run the mill was said to be the Egan family of millers, before falling to ruin.

The Mill

The mill itself is a three-bay, three-storey water mill, something that use to be popular of small rural mills in County Galway and it is great that in stayed in tact so well and with its restoration looks great, which is rare. The water wheel is still present on the mill.

The Water Wheel

The community restoration

Templetogher restoration came about from the Williamstown heritage society and this was known as there  flagship project and the centrepiece of there achievements has been Templetogher Mill and new Heritage Area. 

The walkway

Purchase

First of all was to purchase the mill and adjacent lands from the previous owners. The mill was then in the hands of the local community.

Restoration

The start was to conserve the building following which the wheel was reconstructed and is now turning once more. 

The kiln across the road has been restored while on the ground floor of the same building, a traditional forge has been developed.  The land adjacent to the mill was tidied up and native trees were planted. 

The Kiln

Completion

The restoration of the inner mill was then taken care of before the final stage in the development the restoration of the beautiful miller’s house. 

The miller’s cottage

Keeping with the local project local builders were used in the project in the restoration.

Ireland history and heritage

Since being in Ireland the heritage and history of this country is just everywhere to be seen.

We have visited some amazing sites like Roscommon Castle ruins, Clifden Castle and Lough Rynn Castle. See the history behind the Kilala round tower and it’s use during the French Rebellion We have even found out some great historical stories like how Cindy the elephant came to be buried in Castlerea.

Many of these of stories can be found also on our sister site Travel Through Ireland an informative site on our travels and what to find county by county in Ireland.

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Romantic story Of McDermott Castle Lough Key

Visiting Lough Key for McDermott Castle

One of our favourite places to visit is Lough Key Forest Park. We often spend many a afternoon there exploring the 350 hectare site. What always captures my imagination is the lonely castle ruins lying out in the Lough McDermott Castle.

McDermotts Castle in the backfround

The story of Una

So here is a little story what is believed to be the tale of the castle.

Local legend tells the story of a girl called Una, the daughter of the McDermott chief, who fell in love with a boy from a lower class.

Una’s father refused to let her leave the island, in the hopes that this would deter the budding relationship.

A sad ending for Una

Unbeknownst to her father, Una’s boyfriend began swimming across Lough Key to reach the castle. It was during one of these crossings that tragedy struck, and the boy drowned.

It’s said that Una died from grief and that both she and her partner have remained buried beneath two intertwined trees on the island ever since”

Take a visit yourself

Want to see this beautiful piece of history you can take a boat out around the Lough from Lough Key Boats situated on the side of Lough at Lough Key Forest Park.

Lough Key boats

Find out some more information about the boats, Mcdermott castle and Lough Key via the Travel Through Ireland website.

Love more history

We love local stories like these, fancy hearing the some more ? How about the story of why Cindy the elephant was buried in the rural Irish town of Castlerea. Now this is a intriguing one.

Some more historical sites we have found on our travels involve a lot of castles here ar a couple below we have visited.

Elephant grave Castlerea – Story of Cindy the elephant

A elephant grave in Castlerea ?

Who is this Cindy the elephant? and why a grave for it in Castlerea County Roscommon? I know right sounds strange, so much so we decided to take a walk down to have a look and see what we could find out

Walking the Castlerea Demense

We often walk the demense at Castlerea and wondered what this Elephant grave was all about. Recently the area has been upgraded and a elephant statue erected with seating areas with such a great little area it prompted us to look a bit further into the story behind why an elephant is buried in country Ireland.

The Elephant grave and memorial

The story of Cindy the elephant

There once was a circus elephant named Cindy  who  made a big impression when she visited Castlerea town in County Roscommon all the way back in 1958

In late June 1958 a local snapped this picture below of the elephant being parading and coming out of Stephen Mannion’s Bar right on the Main Street, Castlerea.

That famous picture of Cindy the elephant

This photo gained a lot of momentum and appeared in many newspapers over the country with a caption of ‘customers come in all shapes and sizes.’

Cindy the elephant passing

In 1972, unfortunately Cindy Passed, straight away the Castlerea Towns Trust offered a gravesite in The Demesne, and Cindy has been buried ever since.

In 2014, the gravesite was finally marked with a memorial stone. And In 2021 the area was cleared and as mentioned in a great tribute the site of the burial is now a lovely well maintained area to  visit.

The memorial site

The Memorial Stone

Cindy the Elephant

Gone to the Great Kingdom Beyond the Skies

1972

The great trumpet silent

The end of a mammoth reign

Home at last in Castlerea

Entombed in its Demense.

Cindy’s grave

And that’s the story of when cindy the elephant came to Castlerea and why she was buried there.

The Castlerea Demense

As well this great site the Castlerea Demense is a beautiful little area to explore with walking tracks, a fairy garden, music area and playground. The river suck also runs through this beautiful parkland.

Other County Roscommon Activities

Here is a few other Roscommon adventures we have been on.

You can find a few photos of this beautiful county on our Travel Through Ireland Twitter page.

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