THE LAYDE CHURCH

Layd Church

Cross to Dr James McDonnell

Holed Cross

 Inside Ruin

The Layd or Layde Church is situated a short distance out of the village of Cushendall - follow the road to the beach and you can walk around the cliff path from there, the Church is set in a secluded valley hidden from view,  the site itself may date back to early Christianity - certainly evidence around the area suggests settlement by man from as far back as the Neolithic. The ruins we see today date to around 1638 when the church was rebuilt complete with a thatched roof, evidence suggests another renovation or rebuild in 1696 - we must remember that during these times there were ongoing conflicts between clans and churches were not spared from attack. The patron saint was Ciaran and the church is recorded as being in use from 1288 with the last services held in 1790. Two interesting crosses exist in the graveyard, - a large decorative Celtic cross near the ruin is dedicated to Dr. James McDonnell who founded the Belfast School of Medicine which later became Queens University, another more ancient cross with a hole in it stands at the entrance.  Under the entrance to the graveyard are buried the bodies of two young lovers who had both worked to a local residence and would from time to time spent time here. The young girl became pregnant and on finding out her employers sacked her, in desperation and in fear of responses from the local community she took her own life by hanging herself in a nearby barn. The young man discovered her body and not able to stand thought of being without her, hung himself beside her. They were both buried together under the stones at the entrance to the Layde as suicide was a sinful act in their days. Some say their ghosts can  still be seem walking down the grassy laneway together on summer evenings.

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