Friday 6 December 2019

Old St. Seachnall's Church Co Meath

                                             Above Image: Entrance gate

                                        Above Image: Tomb within the arch

                 Above Image & 3 Images Below: Some of the window head fragments

These few remains may seem a bit insignificant but I always like to investigate ruins no matter how small they may be.
This single pointed arch and half of another are basically all that remains of the medieval parish church of St Seachnall. St seachnall is reputed to be a nephew of St. Patrick and died in 448AD. It is believed that his remains are buried in what is now the South east corner of the present churchyard.
The church was built in the 15th century on the site of the original monastery which was finally destroyed by fire in 1143. The church remained in use until the 17th century when it was noted by the Bishop of  Armagh that it was in ruins. Isaac Butler writing in 1749 said that the chancel was ruinous but the tower still stood. Over the years since then these too became non-extant, A new church for the Church of Ireland community was built in 1813 and is still in use today standing adjacent to the remains of the earlier church. You can find a font and decorated lintel stone from the previous structures within the new church.
The existence of this arch suggests that the nave had an aisle and that the church would have been quite bigger than the normal structures built around this time. Below the arch there is a tomb inserted and around the base of the piers are fragments of window heads from the long gone church.
The ruin can be found in the graveyard of the present Church of Ireland in Dunsaughlin which derives its name from the Gaelic "Domhnach Seachnail" meaning "The  Church of Seachnall"
To find the ruin take the M3 from Dublin heading North and exit at junction 5. Follow the roundabout around to the right and take the exit listed for the R147 to Dunsaughin.A few metres on there is a second roundabout. Turn left here again following the signs for the R147, It is approx 10KM to Dunsaughin and when you drive through the village you will pass the Village Grill on your right which is located further down the main street. The entrance to the churchyard lies between the Village grill and the Veterinary Hospital. A short drive up the avenue leads you to the small church car park.