Killeen Church




N 53° 32' 09.24"   W 006° 35' 57.84"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

N 93143 54915

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Friday 24 May 2019

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The church from the northeast. The shaft of the Killeen cross is on the far right side of the photo.

Northeast of Dunshaughlin, and behind the Killeen Castle, there is the shaft of a cross and the ruins of a church.

This church was built by Sir Christopher Plunkett, a grandson of Sir Richard Plunkett of Rathregan, in the early years of the 15th century, on the site of an earlier monastic site founded in the 5th century and then extended in the 8th or 9th century, but no traces of this early monastery can be found today.
The building is about 35 metres long and 8 metres wide, but on the east (90°) side a tower had been added on the northeast corner, and this results in an east side being about 11 metres wide.
The three-light east window retains its wonderful tracery and moulding, while the three-light west window is more damaged and misses part of the tracery.
There are two nice pointed doorways in the north and south walls of the nave, carved out of red sandstone.
Several nice two-light tracery windows are in the north and south walls of the nave and chancel.
In the south wall of the chancel, between two windows, there's an amazing triple sedilia with cinquefoil ogee-headed openings, surmounted by a square hood moulding which include nice finials.

There is a number of nice memorials and tombs within the church, like the mid-15th century reconstructed chest tomb near a niche in the north wall of the nave. This is a double effigy tomb of a lady and her knight, though the effigy is very fragmentary and only little details of the figures can be made out. The partial inscription mentions a certain John Cusack. The south and west side panels are richly decorated with ogee-headed niches ornated with foliate cusps and crockets. There are also three surviving crests displaying the arms of Barnwall, Butler or le Poer, and Plunkett.
The west side of this chest tomb has two crests, one bearing the symbols of the Blessed Virgin (a heart pierced by a sword), the other one bearing the symbols of the Passion.

At the west end of the nave is an octagonal font with a circular basin. It stands on an octagonal shaft which, in turn, stands on an octagonal base. Some of the side panels of the basin have traces of armorial shields and on one face there's a carved head, possibly of St. John the Baptist.

A few interesting old headstones can be found in the graveyard south of the church.

As soon as we arrived at the site, an archery tournament was going to start, and we were invited to leave quickly for safety measures. For the same reason we were denied the key to visit the inside of the church.
Very bad timing!

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