Ballybacon church, Ballybacon

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Feature Sets (2)


The 12thc. font, formerly in the ruined 13thc. church at Ballybacon, was removed in 1975 to this new Roman Catholic parish church.





The font has a rectangular basin, decorated in low relief on four faces with circular and floral motifs. The interior of the basin ia also rectangular, with a flat bottom and central drain hole. In fine-grained granite.

Front face: two six-petalled flowers, one on either side of two central triangles, placed apex to apex. Four small discs or pellets are arranged between the outer petals of each flower and at the upper corners.

Side and rear faces: all similar in design, three large radiating leaves on each side of two central triangles, placed apex to apex.

the underside of the font has a large circular depression 0.32 m in diameter, suggesting that it rested on a single columnar base.

d. of basin 0.56 m
d. of basin, interior 0.21 m
h. of basin 0.32 m
h. of decorated panels, front and rear 0.28 m
h. of decorated panels, sides 0.28 m
w. of basin 0.58 m
w. of decorated panels, front and rear 0.51 m
w. of decorated panels, sides 0.47 m
w. of rim 0.065 m


In England square and rectangular fonts were most common in the 11thc. and early 12thc. In Ireland this form is unusual, and is more usually found with a polypod as opposed to single column support. The nature of the decoration makes it quite difficult to date the font with any accuracy. Floral motifs formed by intersecting arcs are found on the Ahenny and Kilamery Crosses located nearby on the Kilkenny-Tipperary border and these are traditionally dated between the 8thc. and 10thc., but such motifs also occur occasionally on late-medieval sculpture. Pike (1979, 9) suggests that the font is 'pre-conquest' while Cahill and Twohig (1976) date it to the mid-to late- 13thc.


  • R. R. Brash, The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland , Dublin, 1875, 139, pl.XLVI.

  • M. Cahill and E. Twohig, Baptismal Font from Ballybacon Old Church, Co. Tipperary , Journal of the Cork Archaeological and Historical Society , 81, 1976, 92-3, fig.1.

  • J. Pike, Medieval Fonts of Ireland, privately published, Greystones, 1979, 9.

  • P. Power, Waterford and Lismore - A Compendious History of the United Dioceses, Cork, 1937, 71.


Site Location
Ballybacon church, Ballybacon
National Grid Reference
S 08 18 
now: Tipperary
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Tessa Garton