This is a very ancient site and I wasn’t sure if there were any remains of the old Church left but in fact a remnant does exist.
The Church must have been constructed before 1220AD as that is when it was recorded as being annexed by Archbishop of Dublin Henry De Loundres. There was also the cell of a Hermitess here at Ballymadun at this time. The Church was dedicated to All Saints and was probably abandoned after the dissolution in the mid sixteenth century. Indeed it is recorded in John D’Alton’s History of Co Dublin in 1838 as being in complete ruin with one side covered in Ivy. The graveyard was taken under the control of Fingal Co Council in 1939.
The graveyard in which the ruins lie is located at the bottom of a narrow lane adjacent to the Fox Inn pub on a back road from Ashbourne in the townland of Ballymadun. A gate remains unlocked but there is also a large stone stile for access. What remains of the Church now is scant to say the least. All that exists is a long section of the Southern wall standing a little over 2 feet in height with a gap which one might suppose to have been the doorway. The low wall is capped with a flat stone and now seems to serve as a place of rest where you can sit and reflect on the surroundings. The location itself is a very calm and beautiful place and is well maintained and there are some very striking Yew trees in the enclosure. I’ve come across yew trees in many ecclesiastical sites and some have existed for many hundreds of years. apparently their longevity can stretch into thousands of years. It is thought that they were revered in ancient times because of their all year round foliage. While other trees lay bare in the winter the yew flourished providing cover from the weather and in the summertime, shade. This and the fact that the strong toxins in the roots created a clear area around them provided an ideal location to hold ceremonies. This reverence seems to have transferred to the later Christian times and many Churches and Abbeys were built in the vicinity of yews.
So, only a little to see here ruin wise but I’m glad we stopped to visit. It was a beautiful day and this part of the County is so tranquil that it set a good tone to the rest of our ruin hunting that day.
To find the remains of Ballymadun Church take the N2 Northbound from the M50. After approx. 4KM it becomes the M2. Continue until you reach a roundabout where the N2 continues to the left. Turn right at the roundabout onto the R135 for Ashbourne and about 350m later take the first left hand turn onto Ballymadun Road. Drive for approx. 1.2KM until you come to a fork in the road with a small triangular grass margin with a tree on it. Turn onto the right lane and drive until you reach the Fox Inn pub. The lane to the graveyard is to the right of the pub and you can drive down to the graveyard entrance gate where there is room for a couple of cars to park.