Wednesday 31 May 2023

St. Munna's Church Kilmoon Co Meath


                                       Above Image: The entrance gate and stile

                                   Above Image: Remains of the doorway and porch

                                       Above Image: Parts of a window surround

                                      Above Image: Some of the table top tombs

Ireland is littered with partial remains of medieval churches, abbeys and castles but it is unusual to come across what appears to be a part of an ancient ruin that in fact only dates back to the 19th century.

A church in Kilmoon had been mentioned in the ecclesiastical taxations of 1302-1306 but there are no extant remains of this structure as it fell into complete ruin in the mid 17th century. A monastery was also thought to have been in this area possibly founded by St. Moen whose name may have morphed into St. Munna after which the remains here today are named. 

The present ruins are the remains of the Western doorway and porch and some of the West wall of a Church of Ireland church built in 1816 as part of the Board of First Fruits initiative and costing approx. £500. A further £100 + was recorded as being granted for repairs around 1837.  The ordnance survey 25" map (1881-1913) records St. Munna's as a church in use during that period. When the church was demolished is unclear and why the remains of the doorway were left is a mystery. I  have scoured the Anglican records online but as yet have not turned up any answer.

The graveyard in which the ruin stands is buried (pardon the pun) down a narrow lane behind The Snailbox Pub & Restaurant just off the N2 to Slane. It is accessed by a set of gates or over a stone stile in the surrounding wall and is well maintained as it is still in use. Some of the older graves are table top tombs.

While we wandered around the structure we found a couple of pieces from a window surround which have been placed beside the arch. The existence of a more ancient graveyard possibly dating back to 500AD came to light a few years back when two skulls were discovered by workers digging near The Snailbox. The skulls were examined by the state pathologist who determined their age.

The ruin while not extensive is worth stopping to view especially as it is in an area that is near to so many different historical spots. 

To find the ruin take the N2 heading North toward Slane driving approx 5KM from the roundabout coming off the M2. Take a left hand turn onto the L5007 just before the sign advertising The Snailbox. Drive to the end of this narrow lane until you reach a T-junction. Turn left and about 50m on turn right following the lane past the pub on your right. A few metres on you will see the word "stop" painted on the road. Turn left here down an even narrower lane which leads directly to the gate of the graveyard. You can park on the grassy area at the gate.


53°34'10.8"N 6°27'30.6"W

53.569662, -6.458486