St. John's Church – Glynn, Northern Ireland - Atlas Obscura

St. John's Church

Local legend says there's treasure hidden within its crowded graveyard. 


The remnants of St. John’s Parish Church in Glynn, Northern Ireland, form one of the oldest ecclesiastical sites in the East Antrim area, with records dating as far back as the early 14th century. In fact, it’s recorded that St. Patrick may have founded a church in the valleys of Gleannindeachta—which is now known as Glynn—and it’s thought that this may have been that very church.

But that isn’t the only legend associated with these hallowed grounds. Local folklore says a nearby house was connected to the newer church via an underground tunnel and that there’s an iron chest filled with gold hidden within the graveyard. As of yet, no one has been able to discover any truth regarding either mystery—but there’s always hope someone may. 

Even if there are no secret rooms or buried treasures, the church’s history is still intriguing. In 1840, a new church was built on the grounds for the then-vicar Francis Willett Waterson, who until then was operating his services from a temporary apartment within the village.

The churchyard is filled with old, dilapidated, historic gravestones. Walk around, and you’ll find some adorned with Celtic symbols, wildlife illustrations, and family emblems. Many of the gravestones pay respects to the many who perished during both world wars and also to the maritime history of the local area.

Know Before You Go

This church and many other churches in the local area are part of the Larne Historic Church Trail, which is an easy-to-follow guide that will take travelers on a tour of some of the old local churches and graveyards. On this trail, you will discover the Christian heritage of this region and also discover links with St Patrick himself.

The best way to get here is either by car or by train. The old church is located along the Glynn River, close to the shore of Larne Lough. It's also very close to the Glynn train stop. Cross the main road from where the train stop is situated in the village and follow the river trail down to the bottom of the path. The church grounds have some steep ledges, so be careful not to fall.

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