See also : Teltown - The location of Donaghpatrick Church (called St. Patrick's Church) and Rath Airthir can be seen on the map uploaded to this page.

donaghpatrick

(above) Donaghpatrick located on a high point above the R. Blackwater - photographed here during the floods of 2009. (Photo© N&DHS)

Donaghpatrick Church is located in a very picturesque spot overlooking the River Blackwater, about halfway between Navan and Kells.  Donaghpatrick is a very ancient place - the words Domnach Pádraig literally mean the Church of Patrick. Legend and tradition, along with Patrician literature, support an early connection between the church at Donaghpatrick and St. Patrick. Tradition tells us that the site was granted to St. Patrick, by Conaill, brother of the High King Laoighre, following his baptism.

The church itself was built on the site of an earlier church, in 1896, by the architect  J.F. Fuller, (who designed Kylemore Abbey). The existence of a medieval church here is confirmed by the records in the Annals of the burnings and plunderings which took place between 745 and 1156. A sundial, now part of the graveyard wall behind the church would appear to be the only surviving fragment of an early structure.

The 19th century building incorporates a medieval tower house, upon which can be found a carved  stone head. This tower house is 4 storeys high, each storey comprising of a single large room with a fireplace. A careful examination of  the stonework reveals many slit windows which have since been blocked up. This would indicate that the original function of the tower house was defensive.

The church designed by J.F. Fuller was erected by Thomas Gerrard and his sisters Mrs Collins and Mrs Johnston of Gibbstown House. The chancel arch is made of Caen stone  and the ceiling is panelled. The large brass eagle lectern came from Ardbraccan Church when it was closed in 1970. There are no memorial tablets on the walls - the expressed wish of the Gerrard family.
Inside the porch are a large number of monuments associated with Matthias Everard a Lt. Col. in the army of King James ll, who died in  1714. Two of the monuments display the Everard coat of arms, and a smaller plaque dated 1708 comes from Randlestown House, the home of the Everards, the  ruined remains of which were covered by the waters of the Tara MInes Tailings Dam in the 1980s.

donaghpatrick church(above)  The 19th century church at Donaghpatrick with the medieval Tower House to the right.  (PhotoN&DHS)


stone head donaghpatrick(left) The carved stone head found high up
on the north wall of the tower house
in Donaghpatrick.
(See similiar head on


The graveyard surrounding the church contains mixed burials, Church of Ireland and Catholic. The grave of Thomas Gerrard is here, as is that of the Everard Family from nearby Randlestown.  The actor John Cowley is buried here too.


donaghpatrick standing stone and font
everard grave
( left)
The standing stone and medieval font
in Donaghpatrick Graveyard,

and
(right)
the Everard grave,
which is located
close to the church.
Sir Nugent Everard was the
driving force
behind the
tobacco industry in this area.




donaghpatrick graveyard
(above)  The view towards Donaghpatrick Bridge which spans the R. Blackwater.                                                                                                         (photo©N&DHS)
donaghpatrick rath airthir
(above) Rath Airthir - a trivallate rath or ringfort (ie a rath or ringfort with 3 sets of defensive embankments),  which is located just opposite Donaghpatrick Church.

This impressive rath  has been identified as the Tredua at Tailtiú .."the Tredua of Tailtiú famed beyond all lands, where the kings of Ireland used to fast... that no disease might visit the land of Erin" .

Sources:
Buildings of Meath - A selection of Protected Structures Kevin V. Mulligan Fieldgate Press 2001
The Beauties of the Boyne and its Tributary the Blackwater William R. Wilde first published Dublin 1849
Archaeology Heritage Guide no.3  Teltown - An Ancient Assembley Site in Co. Meath published by the Heritage Council. Nov. 1998
Kells Union of Parishes Website.
All photographs ©N&DHS