The Magnificent Seven Donegal Churches by Liam McCormick – a summary

So we reached the end of our journey visiting the Magnificent Seven Donegal Churches by Liam McCormick; this post therefore is a summary of the links, in date order & a couple of observations:

1. Milford – 1961

2. Murlog – 1964

3. Desertegney – 1964

4. Burt – 1967

5. Creeslough – 1971

6. Glenties – 1974

7. Donoughmore Presbyterian church (1977)

A few comments and observations:

  • It’s absolutely remarkable taking into account the situation in Northern Ireland at the time that the Presbyterian community trusted Mccormick with their church considering all those previous were of the Catholic denomination.
  • You can see the influences other architects had upon Mccormick’s work; Le Corbusier’s Ronchamp has often been cited as an influence on Creeslough; compare below the windows in both churches:

    Windows at Ronchamp thanks to ArchDaily, link below:

    Windows at Creeslough – phot copyright Mark Stephens[/caption]

    The following is from ‘In conversation with Liam’ in Paul Lamour and Shane O’Toole’ North by Northwest:the life and work of Liam McCormick (Gandon Editions, Kinsale 2008):

    “I was influenced by my seeing, as a student in Liverpool, illustrations of the odd Swiss church, particularly, the Karl Kirche in Lucerne by Fritz Metzger…” (photo below):

    Image from Wikipedia

    Compare now to the bell tower at Milford:

    You could also compare the Bell tower at St Johannes Church in Basel, Switzerland by Karl Egender and Ernst Friedrich Burckhardt to Creeslough (although it’s supposition to say that Liam saw this church):

    Image from Wikipedia

    And the bell tower at Creeslough in comparison:

    So, my favourites…

    You can see why Burt is such an award winner; winning the RIAI Gold Medal in 1967; it’s also exceptionally clever:

    “The building is circular in plan, but it cleverly has a second internal circular wall, which is placed tangentially to the exterior, which means that the church is both circular outside and inside,…” : Text from Archiseek

    Also, from the same source:

    “The statuesque copper roof sweeps upwards in a gentle turning motion” and the piece-de-resistance is the glazed section in the spire allowing the light to flood down onto the altar whilst still maintailing the traditional ‘spire’:

    But the first to be visited has to have a special place; the penultimate church to be built – Glenties is a masterclass in light and form. For my non- architectural wife and son (who were also on the trip); this church set the example on which all the following churches were easy to spot!

    So my trip is highly recommended – especially to students of architecture; but take a few days doing them rather than (as we did) seeing them all in a day!

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