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Old Kilcullen Monastic Settlement
 

County

Kildare

Coordinates

N 53° 06' 58.0"   W 006° 42' 39.2"

Nearest town

Ballymore Eustace

Grid Ref.

N 83035 07045

Map No.

55

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

161

Date of visit

Saturday 11 June 2011

GPS Accuracy (m)

6
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The monastic settlement of Old Kilcullen.


An early monastic settlement was founded here around 450 by St. Patrick, who placed it in the care of Eoghan Mac Táil who became the bishop of the settlement.
Close to this settlement is the hillfort of Dún Ailinne, the ceremonial site of the Kings of Leinster.
What we see here are the shafts of two high crosses, the stump of a round tower and the very poor remains of a medieval church.
The first shaft is 1.59 metres tall, 46 centimetres wide and thick, and stands on a base of 45 centimetres of height. All the four faces of the shaft are finely decorated with scenes from the Old and New Testament, some celtic interlaced patterns and a scene on the north side that might tell an episode of the life of the settlement.
The second shaft is 2.90 metres tall, 52 centimetres wide, 45 centimetres thick, and stands on a very low base.
The round tower has the doorway on the northeast (30°) side at 1.90 metres from the ground. The tower is 8.40 metres tall, and on the southwest side of the top it has what I call it a "tooth" that is 1.90 metres higher than the top of the tower. The diameter of the tower is 3.75 metres.
The upper section of the round tower was severely damaged during the insurrection in 1798.
The church is in the northeast quarter of the settlement, but practically nothing remains of it, though once it could have boasted a wonderful Romanesque doorway.

This was our last visit when we first came to Ireland in 1994, and weirdly it's been our last visit for the trip in 2011.


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