Poisoned Glen, Dunlewey, County Donegal, Ireland
Dunlewey Church is quaintly seated in a picturesque valley undeservingly named “The Poisoned Glen” at the foot of Mount Errigal overlooking Dunlewey Lough. It was built by Jane Smith Russell as a memorial to her husband James Russell who was landlord of the Dunlewey Estate, who died on 2nd September 1848. James Russell was laid to rest in a vault under this the church floor. The church was consecrated on 1st September 1853 as a Chapel of Ease to Tullaghabegley. Tullaghabegley was the parish consisting of the present day Gweedore and Cloughaneely parishes.
Unfortunately with the decline of the Dunlewey Estate, the potential congregation diminished and the church was not in regular use. The expense of the upkeep and the passage of time added to the deterioration of the church. In 1955 the roof was removed as a safety measure. It’s furniture and fittings were distributed to other churches within the diocese of Derry and Raphoe. The bell is now installed in Cashel Church of Ireland near Doe Castle.
Proud of their church, the local community have been actively engaged in the building’s preservation since 1987, ensuring its survival for the benefit of future generations. Some also say that few will go near this church….. believing it to be haunted!