Ladychapel

 

I went looking for Ladychapel, an old church and graveyard outside of Maynooth. I found it, though it was guarded by a big angry dog, so I’ll have to return again. Until then though, please enjoy the NEW SHINY Ladychapel church outside of Maynooth, picture only, no history….some say the best kind of history…right???

 

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Moyglare Church

Here is the church (and here is the steeple) of ‘All Saints’. It’s found north of Maynooth, out the Moyglare Road and seen on the left, here. Upon reading two local history books, I really can’t tell you that much! Lucky for you, there are very nice pictures so they’ll do the work for you.

It’s a Church of Ireland church (and parish I’m told). The church that’s there now is actually built on an old site. The old church existed from at least 1202 but there is not much known about it. This new church that stands there now was built in 1866 by Edward McAllister. The Graveyard situated here predates the church however, and is actually an inter-denominational Graveyard. The book ‘Myth and Memory’ below has an index of the location of over 80 Graves and their inscriptions. It’s worth checking out if you’re into graves, only ten euro in your local bookshop!

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References:

Norman Kilcloon 1171 – 1700 by Gerard Rice

Myth and Memory: The History and Story of the Graveyards of Maynooth. Edited by Hilda Dunne, Rita Edwards, Padraig O Murchu, Fergus White.

Laraghbryan

It’s been a while since my last post, for various reasons I can’t get into right now. Alas, or at last, I have one right here. It’s cool, because it’s the third monastic site found around Maynooth. I’ve already mentioned the other two: Taghadoe and Donaghmore (Grangewilliam). Now I mention the final one here, Laraghbryan.

Laraghbryan is also known as Laithreach Briuin or site of the house of Brian. It gives its name to the ancient parish of the area. It once contained a castle (although we don’t know where), as there was dressed stone found in nearby fields. The church on the site is made of limstone and mortar, and is dedicated to 6th Century St. Senan who may have been a contemporary of St, Columcille. His feast day is celebrated on September 2nd ( If you wished to party).

The site is near Slighe Mor, and followed the Eiscir Riada (an ancient roadway that runs through the Irish Midlands). Records in 970 AD dhow Cellach ua Nuadhat was slain by foreigners in the doorway in his refectory. Men of Meath also burnt the oratory at Laraghbryan in 1036 and 1040.

The site is divided into the modern day Graveyard still used, and an older Graveyard containing the ruin, but still encompassing new Graves.

The church itself has enough left to show you its former use:  from its general outline both inside and out, to doorways and windows, to the tower which you can still climb!

References:

Myth and Memory: The History and Story of the Graveyards of Maynooth. Edited by Hilda Dunne, Rita Edwards, Padraig O Murchu, Fergus White.

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Donaghmore (Ogham Stone)

The Donaghmore Ogham Stone (CllC 026)* was discovered by Lord Walter Fitzgerald in Grangewilliam churchyard in 1902. The Ogham inscription upon it is fine and faint and, were it not for Fitzgerald’s keen eye, the monument could easily have been lost to us forever. He found it lying under a bush, where it had been discarded, in the north-east part of the churchyard. The stone was subsequently removed to the relative safety of nearby Carton House for a number of years before ultimately finding its way to the National Museum of Ireland in 1931. The stone is composed of a soft limestone and measures approximately 76cm x 36cm x 23cm. The inscription runs upwards along two edges of the stone, which is unusual, but not unheard of (normally, the longer Ogham inscriptions run upwards on one edge, across the top, and then downwards on the other side). In this case, the inscription reads:

NETTAVRO[E/I]CC MAQI MUCCOI TRENALUGGO

MAQI, literally means ‘son-of ‘, but in the context of Ogham inscriptions it has a looser definition: perhaps ‘devotee’. It is the most frequently occurring word in Ogham and provides little indication of the date of the inscription. The origins of the word MUCOI remain unclear, but it almost certainly indicates membership of a sept (a division of a nation or tribe), and is, in most cases, followed by the name of that sept. Although MUCOI is also a very common word in the inscriptions, it is less common in the later period of Ogham tradition.

The name NETTAVRO[E/I]CC consists of two elements: NETTA (Old Irish: Nad), meaning ‘hero’ or ‘champion’, and VRO[E/I]CC  (Old Irish: Froích,  Modern Irish: Fraoch) meaning ‘heather’, or in this case perhaps, more specifically ‘heath’. So, roughly translated into today’s Engligh language, NETTAVRO[E/I]CC may become ‘Heath-champion’. Interestingly, later literary sources record the name of Natfraích, a 5th century Munster King, and two similar versions of the name (NIOTTVRECC and NETAVROQI) occur on Ogham stones (CllC#202 & #271) in Kerry and Waterford (respectively).

TRENALUGGO too is a ‘compound name’ consisting of the words TRENA and LUGGO. Although the inscription of the word LUGGO is very faint and difficult to read, it almost certainly refers to the pre-christian god Lugh, of whose name appears quite frequently in Ogham inscriptions. TRENA is more difficult to interpret: it was  once considered to correspond to the Old Irish word tréna, simply meaning ‘strong’, but it is more likely to be trian, meaning ‘a third’,  as in the fraction 1/3. The same name (although spelled ever so slightly differently) appears on Monataggart lll (CllC#120), from County Cork.

It must be remembered, when deciphering Ogham, that it is Primitive Irish, the oldest known form of the Irish language, ‘Latinized’, that is, sounded out using the Roman alphabetic system, and only then converted into the arcane Ogham script. The heavily formulaic inscriptions do not translate well into modern Engligh, and the significance and power which they once carried is sadly lost on us. Nevertheless, the inscription of the Donaghmore Ogham Stone may be read:

Nadfroich, son/devotee of [the sept] Tríanlugh**

*CllC refers to Macalister’s Corpus Inscriptionum Insularum Celticarum (1945), which listed and described all known Ogham inscriptions of the time. Macalister’s numbering system is still used today for the majority of stones, excepting those that have been discovered since 1945.

**I have resisted the temptation to translate the names here for two reasons: firstly, because it is not presently possible to offer a definitive interpretation of them; and secondly, because that would only serve to clutter up what is essentially a very simple inscription and its true meaning.

David Jackson

REFERENCE

Fitzgerald, W. (1902): Discovery of on Ogham Stone near Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 32, 267-268.

Grosjean, P. (1960) Espoic Branduibh Aui Trenloco Anchoritae, Celtica 5, 45-51

Macalister, R.A. S. (1945): Corpus Inscriptionum Insularum Celticarum, Dublin: Stationery Office.

McManus, D. (1991):  A Guide to Ogam. Maynooth: An Sagart

Rhys, J. (1903): Notes on the Ogam-inscribed Stones opf Donaghmore, Co. Kildare, and Inisvickillane, Co. Kerry, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 33, 75-87.

Thurneysen, R. (1946): A Grammar of Old Irish. Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

Donaghmore (Grangewilliam)

If you ever get the train to Maynooth, you’ll pass by this site just next to the entrance to Carton House. There are three monastic sites found around Maynooth: Donaghmore, Laraghbryan and Taghadoe. This one, Donaghmore (Domhnach Mór) is probably the earliest one of the three. There are reports that St. Patrick rested here, but didn’t he rest EVERYWHERE? St. Senan had a disciple named St. Erc and this area is associated with him.

It’s pretty overgrown inside. It’s surrounded by a low wall (that still needs to be climbed!), probably a boundary wall marking the site as sacred. There’s only one way in, and after entering it you see this modern built alter. Perhaps it’s used for Summer Masses, or such and such.

It’s really hard to give you a sense of the site because it’s so overgrown.

This graveyard and church was built much later than the monastery. The monastery didn’t survive after the 11th Century, while the church was ruined by the 14th Century. There was a big change in the church parish system and the church was a part of that before its ruinous state.

There was an Ogham stone discovered in 1902 which reads ‘Monument of Natfráich Son of the kin of Trianling’…but more on that later!

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Sounces:  Maynooth (Ma Nuad) by Mary Cullen

Cannonballs and Croziers: A History of Maynooth edited by John Drennan

Taghadoe

The site at Taghadoe lies about two and a half miles south of Maynooth . There is a graveyard, a ruined church and a round tower. I was amazed to discover a round tower so well preserved and so close to Maynooth.

There were three early religious houses in the Maynooth area that the town grew up around: Donaghmore (Grangewilliam), Taghadoe and Laraghbryan. I’ll focus on Taghadoe here.

One thought is that Taghadoe (also called Taptoo) is the site of the monastery of Tech-Tua, the house of Tua. The founder is traditionally said to have been St. Tua, also called Ultan Tua or Ultan the silent, who was connected with the 6th Centurty Monastery of Clane. Not much is known about the monastery except that an abbot named Folachtach dies in 765 AD, which as least gives us some timeline.

Another thought is that Tua should really be called Tuathal, a name preserved in the neighbouring townland if Toolestown, and that this site may have connections going back to St. Patrick.

The round tower was built later due to the era that is associated with them (Viking). It is about 65 feet high and the external diameter is larger than usual round towers. It lacks the usual conical roof,  as well as windows at the top,  so perhaps it was never finished.

The ruined church now standing was built in 1831 for the Church of Ireland by aid of a gift of 830 pounds from the late Board of First Fruits. In the Roman Catholic divisions, the parish is part of the Maynooth district.


Notice the octagonal turrets rising from the corners of the church. Pretty great looking. It would be interesting to find out if when the Office of Public Works did restoration work on this.

At the base of the back of the round tower, we find this interesting marking of a cross engraved into one of the blocks of the round tower. Perhaps this on the round tower all the time, though it seems more likely that it is a later addition. Perhaps it’s an old grave slab from the graveyard attached to this site, or else it’s from the church built years ago. Definitely worth looking into for the future.

It’s only a 5 minute drive outside Maynooth, highly recommended for a visit.

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Sources:

A Topographical Dictionary of County Kildare in 1837 compiled and edited by Mario Corrigan, Niamh McCabe and Michael Kavanagh

Guide to National and Historic Monuments of Ireland by Peter Harbison

Maynooth (Ma Nuad) by Mary Cullen