The eminent Donegal architect Liam McCormick designed St. Aengus’ Church or ‘Burt Chapel’ as it is locally known during the period of 1964-67.
McCormicks distinct ability to read a site and produce remarkable buildings from that, sets him apart from any of his Irish church architect peers.
The building as most will know takes its inspiration from Grianán of Aileach, the Bronze Age fortification that dominates the landscape above Burt. The area around St.Aengus’ church is steeped in religious tradition, both Christian and Pagan- there has been some form of religious temple in the immediate area since the Bronze age and McCormick has more than lived up to the task of facilitating an era of a rich tradition.
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, while the crescent shape between is used houses the associated facilities of the church. The statuesque copper roof sweeps upwards in a gentle turning motion while the exterior walls are built with a barrel like squared stone wall finish which are topped with a continuous window which sweeps the whole way around the building.
McCormick was a great believer in incorporating art within buildings and this patronage is notably present at Burt, which includes artwork by the distinguished Oisín Kelly and other prominent Irish artists. St.Aengus’ church when built attracted Liam phenomenal acclaim and eventual international recognition. St.Aengus’ church was deservedly awarded the RIAI Triennial Gold Medal in 1971 and was awarded title of ‘Building of the Century’ by a national poll just before the end of the new millennium.
Photographs and text may give people some idea of the churchs’ superb and ingenious design, but a visit to the church, to see it in its context would be needed to appreciate not only the church but also the grandeur of the Donegal landscape.
Balleighan / Balleeghan Franciscan Abbey within 13.1 km
Carrowkeel (Kerrykeel-Gortnavern) Dolmen within 17.2 km
Church of the Good Shepherd, Church of Ireland, Sion Mills within 28.5 km
Church of the Sacred Heart, Roman Catholic, Carndonagh within 25.7 km
Doe Castle Ruins within 29.8 km
Fanad Lighthouse within 29.3 km
Grianan of Aileach within 2 km
Killydonnell Franciscan Friary within 11.9 km
Lurgyvale Thatched Cottage, Kilmacrennan within 22.6 km
Newmills Corn and Flax Mills within 27.1 km
Rathmullan Carmelite Priory Friary within 9.2 km
St. Columb's Cathedral, Derry, Church of Ireland within 8.4 km
St. Eugene's Cathedral, Derry, Roman Catholic within 7.7 km
St. Eunan's Cathedral, Roman Catholic, Letterkenny within 22.2 km
Thatched Cottage near Claggan, Inishowen within 24.3 km
Thatched Cottage, Fanad Head within 29.1 km
Thatched Cottage, Inishowen Peninsula within 25.7 km
Carrowmena Activity Centre, Hostel, Caravan and Camping within 27.9 km
Paddy's Palace Hostel, Derry within 7.8 km
Tullyarvan Mill Hostel, Community and Cultural Centre, Buncrana within 11.8 km