Raphoe - Places to see

Beltany Stone Circle

Beltany Stone Circle, a National Monument, in the care of the Office of Public Works is situated about two kilometres outside Raphoe. The site consists of a circle of 64 large stones, one of which has cupmarks, and suggests a possible astronomical alignment.


St. Eunan's Cathedral

St. Colmcille founded a monastic settlement on this site in the sixth century which was further developed by St. Eunan (627-704), the patron Saint of Raphoe. The oldest part of the present day building is the Southeast corner which dates back to the twelfth century.


Royal and Prior Boarding House

The detached, seven-bay, three storey school with projecting end bays was built in 1737 by Bishop Nicholas Forster, Church of Ireland Bishop of Raphoe. Isaac Butt (1813-1879), founder of the Home Rule movement, was educated here.


Raphoe First Presbyterian Church

Raphoe is one of the first Presbyterian settlements in Ulster. This church was built in 1876 and is typical of nineteenth century Presbyterian Church buildings. It is a neo-classical, three Bay, single storey over basement structure with a recessed entrance under pediment.


The Bishop's Palace

John Leslie, Bishop of Raphoe, had a palace built on a hill adjoining the town having demolished the ancient round tower for building material. Inscribed in Latin on the foundation stone in the Northeast corner of the building is the fact that the palace was erected from May 1636 to August 1637. James II's troops burned the castle in 1689 but it was rebuilt by Bishop Cairncross in 1695. A fire destroyed 'The Castle' in 1838.


The Masonic Hall

Built in 1900 on the site of a smiths's forge and public house. The inscription in the hall reads "Audi-Vidi-Taci" meaning "Hear, See and Remain Silent".


The Volt House

The three-storey, granite-faced Volt House was built in 1732 by Bishop Nicholas Forster, Church of Ireland Bishop of Raphoe (1716-1743), for widows of deceased clergymen. The Ordance Survey Memoirs (1835-1836) report that local folklore suggests the 'Vault' house received its name from the burial of friars in vaults where it stands.


St. Eunan's Church

The foundation stone for this Hiberno-Romanesque Catholic Church was laid in October 1874. It is built of limestone with sandstone rings. Timothy Hevey designed the church. A prominent feature is the round tower that is modelled on Celtic round towers. A circular extension with a conical roof was completed in 1984.


The Diamond

The 'Diamond' does not refer to the shape of the marketplace. It can follow any plan, although all occur at road intersections. The Market House, built in 1874, with the purpose of collecting tolls from farmers on fair days once stood in the centre of the Diamond but it was demolished in the late 1970's. Leading off the Diamond is Irish Row, the street where the native Irish lived after the Plantation. There are many fine Georgian buildings around the Diamond especially on the west side.


Raphoe Second Presbyterian Church / Recreation Hall

The Church has a pediment front with Ionic pilasters and a recessed centre with two Ionic columns. It was built in 1860 for a second Presbyterian congregation and continued as a seperate church until 1923 when the two congregations merged. It was used as a place of worship until 1949 when it was converted to a recreation hall and also used for monthly sittings of the district court.