Liam McCormick and sacral architecture

I just spent a week in Donegal, the most incredible part of Ireland. Every year I try to spend some time travelling around the country and I am always amazed at how beautiful it is. The landscape here is unreal. 

But Ireland is not just a landscape. It’s also beautiful architecture, unique and rich heritage. 

Being in Donegal with the intention of visiting architectural gems, it is impossible not to mention Liam McCormick (1916-1996) and his churches - a great example of modernist sacral architecture on the Island. 

There is seven of them: 

- St Peter’s Church, Milford (1961) 

- St Patrick’s Church, Murlog (1964) 

- Star of the Sea Church, Desertegney (1964) 

- St Aengus’ Church, Burt(1967) 

- St Michael’s Church, Creeslough (1971) 

- St Conal’s Church, Glenties (1974)

- Donoughmore Presbyterian church, Liscooley (1977) 

During our short family holidays, I had a chance to see only two, but that’s enough to arouse curiosity and the desire to see the other ones. Before moving further to the north, we stayed for a few days in a beautiful, very remote area close to Glenties where Church of St Conal’s is (1974). 

That was my first real contact with Liam’s work. Truly unique design. Here I regretted that I did not take a tripod and a camera with a wider lens with me. I did what I can with my Rolleiflex and loaded Ilford Delta 400. 

Also, the weather wasn’t the best for photography that day so my phone camera for the first time came handy under challenging situations (all colour photographs here) ;) 

I passed this church several times in the next few days. However, the desire to see many other places and kids rather not impressed with their dad who was running here and there with a camera did not let me go back.

A few days later, on the way to Fanad Head, we stopped at Creeslough, St Michale’s Church (1971). Another fantastic, beautifully sculptured building. It looked especially good in the morning light. 

Liam McCormick was a very prominent figure in the world of Irish architecture. He is recognised as “the father of modern Irish church architecture”. He designed about 30 churches including three in England. I need to find the time in the future to explore more of Liam’s work - especially churches in Donegal. Next time with proper equipment, tripod and Ilford Ortho 80 Plus, probably more suitable film for that purpose due to its incredible dynamic range.


In the end, a few words about something else. 

Writing a blog is a great way to describe the places you’ve visited in more detail and bring them closer to the reader through photography (the most important part of my blog). 

At the beginning of the year, I promised myself that I would write and publish every week, which turned out to be not entirely possible. Well, I will still be writing as much as I can, but less regular. So expect some text with more photographs here from time to time. Not every Saturday morning anymore, as for the last half a year. 

I will announce it every time on all my social media channels, as usual. 

Thank you!      

Using Format