Virtual St Catherines


The Reconstruction

Welcome to our virtual exhibition of St. Catherine’s Church and Graveyard which is located in Killybegs in the South-west of County Donegal in Ireland. The remains of St. Catherine’s Church and the surrounding graveyard give us an insight into life in 15th and 16th century Ireland. We are proud to share this rich heritage with you, along with a digital artefact collection and visualisation of the building structure and environment.

Project Team


University of Ulster Killybegs History & Heritage Society

Specialist Advisors:

The work of this project is completed in collaboration between the Killybegs History & Heritage Society, Donegal County Museum and Ulster University’s Intelligent Systems Research Centre.
Special thanks to the Killybegs History & Heritage Society and the community of Killybegs for welcoming the project, providing a rich community heritage and for the numerous occasions they warmly hosted the project partners. We hope this work stands as an example of how a community can present their heritage goes someway towards thanking the community for participating in the process.
We would especially like to thank Derek Vial and Hugh Boyle for taking the time to present the site, the history and the heritage.


Ways to Access the Reconstruction

Research and Design

Historical Research

Using the latest technology and digitisation methods in heritage we highlight the history of the site and tell the story of the area. Our historical sites and community heritage are at risk of being lost to the passages of time as well as environmental factors.
The remains of St. Catherine’s Church and the surrounding graveyard represent an insight into life in 15th and 16TH century Ireland and we have attempted to recreate the church and surrounding landscape in as much detail as possible. Some liberties and artistic license are taken with the roof as we have very little information on how this was constructed. Vegetation is not accurate to the native species but gives an impression of the area at the time, which was likely forested to a greater extent.

How the Reconstruction Was Made

Using the collected research and data capture from the St. Catherine’s site we have built a 3D model of the church along with an accurately measured graveyard environment.
Using the historical architectural drawings we were able to measure to scale inside the 3D software and produce a model that allows us to visualise the original site. Having the 3D environment allows us to view the site from many angles and preserve an interpreted model for future use. Within the 3D reconstruction we are able to restore the original water line to show how the church was placed in the Killybeg’s bay area.