Ireland’s smallest church?

St. Gobbans is a tiny church located in the village of Portbraddan on the west side of White Park Bay. As with the rest of the North Antrim coastline, White Park Bay is a beautiful piece of landscape with a long white sand beach. Portbraddan which consists of only a handful of houses is as quaint and quiet a place as you can get in Northern Ireland. The tiny church is privately owned. At 10 feet by 4 (3m by 1.4m) it is considered the smallest in Ireland though there is another even smaller, St. Lasseraghs, on the cliffs above but which lies in ruins.

The church is dedicated to St. Gobban, a famous person in the mosaic of Irish religion and the island’s foremost architect during the 6th and 7th centuries AD. He was born at Malahide near Dublin around AD 560. His reputation as an architect was such that he was employed by many different people to build churches and other buildings for them. In fact the tales told about him sound so wonderful that some historians consider him to be a mythical person. However, he was probably a historical person but simply his life and work were so embellished by subsequent generations that his story took on mythical details.

To Get There

Park you car as near to the seaside as you can and walk to the church. A visit will not take more than a few minutes though once there you might want to stay in the area and enjoy the ocean breeze.

Being a small and relatively little known place, a visit to the church is best if it is part of a day out. You can either do it when you are touring the Antrim Coast. Or, you can simply decide to have a day on the beach in which case White Park Bay is an excellent option and in the process you can visit the church and the other landmarks in the vicinity

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