St Dowlagh’s Church, Balgriffin. County Dublin    12th century

St Dowlagh’s Church is the oldest stone roofed church (that is still in use today) and in the grounds is the only ‘standalone baptistery’ in the country. The oldest part of the church dates from the 12th century however Christian activity here dates back even further to the time of St. Patrick. It is believed that St. Dowlagh probably lived as a hermit sometime in the early 7th century. In the 19th century there was some dispute over the existence of St. Doulagh and if this church was actually built by Vikings. Recent research has however confirmed he did exist and that the methods of construction for the church were indigenous. The octagonal baptistery is built over an underground spring which leads to an open air body of water called St Catherine’s Pond and there is also a lovely small granite stone cross at the entrance to the grounds. This was either transferred here from somewhere else or may have been given as a gift as it is made with non-local granite.