This church in Carrig-on-Bannow contains an extremely rare Romanesque font which is one of the finest examples of medieval carving in the region, the ‘Bannow Font’.
The Bannow Font
The Bannow Font is one of a trio of such fonts in Wexford which date to the early years of the Norman settlement. The Fethard Font and the Rathaspeck Font (now in Johnstown Castle) are the other two which make up this trio. The Bannow Font was moved to Carrig-on-Bannow in the 19th century from the ruins of St. Mary’s Church in Bannow. The font is carved from Dundry stone.
Dundry Stone and the Shipping Route to Bristol
Dundry stone is a type of fine limestone quarried near Bristol in England. Norman stonemasons valued it because it is relatively soft and can be carved easily.
The Normans used Dundry stone extensively in Ireland from the late 12th century in castles, abbeys and churches. The Bristol trade route was one of the most important Norman trading routes and the boats which sailed from there landed at many Irish port towns.
In Wexford you will find Dundry stone at Dunbrody Abbey, Tintern Abbey, Fethard Castle, the churches at Bannow and Tomhaggard, St. Mary’s Church in New Ross and St. Dubhán’s Church – all sites along the Norman Way.
Imagine the skilled and well-worn hands of the stonemason who laboured over the Bannow Font. This intricately carved stone is still as beautiful as it was hundreds of years ago when it was first admired by the Normans attending church services in what had become their new Irish territory.
To find The Bannow Font…
Type these coordinates into Google: 52.239958, -6.731813