St. Aengus’ Church Burt
St. Aengus’ Church Burt or, as it’s more commonly known, Burt Chapel was designed by local man Liam McCormick in the mid-1960s. His design is so distinctive and his ability to graft visionary buildings is what makes him one of the finest architects to come out of Ireland.
McCormick drew his inspiration from Grianan of Aileach, a Bronze Age fortification which stands aloft the village of Burt in Donegal. Burt Chapel owes itself to both Christian and Pagan religious traditions and temples in the Burt area can be traced as far back as the Bronze Age.
It brought McCormick great acclaim and even international recognition and the church won the prestigious RIAI Triennial Gold Medal in 1971 only a few years after its completion. The building was named Ireland’s ‘Building of the Century’ in the late 1990s and its ingenious design is a marvel to behold.
The building itself is circular in plan but makes use of a second internal circular wall which is placed at a tangent to the exterior, the result this achieves is that the church is circular in both the outside and inside.
With a majestic copper roof the exterior walls come in a squared stone finish and a never ending window which carries across the entire building. As part of McCormick’s design he wanted to incorporate art into the building and artwork by people such as Oisin Kelly and other lauded artists is displayed in the interior of the chapel.
[mappress mapid=”191″]While photographs can give some indication to the striking beauty of Burt chapel there is no substitute for experiencing this genius design first hand, it’s the only way to fully appreciate the work of art that it is.
It can be found in the Fahan part of Donegal in an area rich in history with the ancient Grianan of Aileach stone which dates as far back as 1700BC. It’s said on a clear summer’s day that you can see the hills to as up to as many of seven counties in Ireland from here.