Thursday, 14 April 2016

Fennor Castle & Church Co Meath






                                    Above Image: Part of Medieval tower on top left



                              Above Image: North facing aspect with medieval tower

                                                Above Image: Medieval Church

                                 Above Image: Church with Castle in the backround

                                       Above Image: Boundary wall of graveyard



This interesting looking ruin greets you by the roadside as you enter the village of Slane from the South. The ruins overlook the nearby River Boyne. Its history is very patchy as far as the original builder goes but structurally it appears that it is a combination of a medieval tower house and a 17th century stronghouse. Adjacent to it in the same field are the ruins of a small medieval church set in a walled graveyard. While listed on the 1837 ordnance survey map as Fennor Castle & Church it is only on the 1888 map that they are listed as in ruins. I suspect though the Church was in ruins far earlier.
The castle consists of two storeys and has evidence of a basement and an attic. The ground floor would have had a vaulted ceiling. On both the West and East gables are remains of tall chimneys. The taller section on the North face which really only comes properly into view from that aspect is part of a medieval tower possibly the type of £10 tower that were built at the behest of Henry Vi in 1429 to defend the pale. The remainder of the ruins are of a typical type of strong house popular in late Elizabethan times.
The Castle today stands in ruin in a field with an awkwardly high boundary wall making access difficult. There is evidence on the West boundary wall by a locked field gate that I found of a stone stile which would in the past have given access to the graveyard but there are no discernible steps now to climb over. Sheep wander around both the Castle ruin and the square boundary wall of the graveyard. A wooden fence surrounds the Castle and I believe that the field is maintained as private property although there are no signs to state this. There are some farm buildings opposite the West boundary wall and I suspect this would be the owner of the land. Being confined to an outside view it is still actually possible to see all aspects of the Castle and indeed on the Northern boundary you get a close-up of the church as well which consists of a simple nave and chancel. The overgrowth of ivy is beginning to take hold here. Again access to the ruins is only through the field as there are no other gates in the boundary wall.
Certainly worth a visit to see these ruins anyway in an area that has many other historical sites nearby.
To find Fennor Castle & Church simply take the junction 5 exit for the N2 off the M50 motorway and follow this road. It becomes the M2 for a brief time and then at a roundabout near Ashbourne simply take the left hand exit that becomes the N2 again. Follow this road for approx. 18KM until you reach the outskirts of Slane. You can’t miss seeing the Castle on your left. There is a little left hand turn just before the castle signposted L16002 and you can park up along the houses here.

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