Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Ardmulchan Church Co Meath

                                              Above Image: The entrance lane

                                          Above Image: Entrance gate & stile

                                          Above Image: Remains of East gable

                                            Above Image: The stone coffin lid

                                 Above Image: Stairs to the left, chamber to the right

                                      Above Image: Vaulted lower chamber interior
                                            Above Image: View up the stairs
                                            Below Image: View down the stairs

                                 Above Image: Remains of second storey chamber

                              Above Image: View of Church ruins from second storey

                    Above Image: View of Dunmoe Castle through second storey window

                        Above & Below Images: Views of the Boyne & Dunmoe Castle

On a Norman constructed Motte overlooking the River Boyne are the ruins of Ardmulchan Church. The tall bell tower is likely to have been constructed in the late 13th or early 14th century while the nave and chancel date about a hundred years later. It is believed that the Church was still in use up to the early part of the 17th century. Its strategic position on the Motte which sweeps steeply down to the river would attest that this was an important Norman position and it is thought that later the stones from a castle was used to construct the perimeter wall of the graveyard.
The ruins are tucked away from the main local road and are accessed by a narrow and frankly pot- holed lane of which a gate at the end is usually open during daylight hours. Once through the gate the lane bends right and leads you to a gravel car park and the graveyard itself. The view from this spot out over the Boyne valley is breath taking, the river winding upstream and the ruins of Dunmoe Castle (See earlier post here) clearly visible on the opposite bank.
There is a stile in the perimeter wall of the graveyard but on my visit the gate was unlocked. The tower is very striking sitting aloft the Motte and when approached from its South side you can see the foundations of the side walls and the partial remains of the East gable where a large window would have been. This gable is quite overgrown. In between this and the tower the once interior is strewn with broken rock and gravestones. There is one particularly unique object here a stone trapezoidal coffin lid sporting a very decorative cross.
At the tower itself there are two openings one leads down into a small vaulted chamber where bell ropes once hung from the belfry through three apertures. The other opening leads to a very worn stone stairs some of the steps badly cracked or even missing but as they say nothing ventured nothing gained so I clambered up them. Unfortunately it just led to an open chamber with a grassy floor although there is a good view of the surrounds from here.
This is one site you really should visit, not only for the ruin but for the great view from its vantage point.
To find Ardmulchan Church take the N2 heading North from exit 5 on the M50. About 2.5Km before Slane there is a left hand turn onto the L1600 signposted for Navan/Trim. The turn is just after a large sign on your left referring to Newgrange monument and the Battle of the Boyne. Once on the L1600 drive through Beauparc station and you will come across a TOP service station on your right. Approx 2km past this is a small laneway on the right with an abandoned house on the corner. It’s easy to miss as the sign pointing to the graveyard has been turned out of view but if you drive slowly and keep an eye out you should be OK.
Once on the lane follow it through to the car park. The gate halfway down is usually open until 10pm in summer and 4pm in winter.

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