Derrynaflan Church




N 52° 35' 50.3"   W 007° 44' 02.0"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

S 18082 49547

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Thursday 12 June 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

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These horses seem the guardians of the hill.

It is said that St. Ruadhan of Lorrha might have founded an early church on this island in the bog, but the present church is a much later construction and was part of a monastic settlement. The architecture of the building may suggest that it was erected in the 13th century, though some stone work appears to be older and probably belonged to an earlier pre-Norman church.
In 1980 a set of ecclesiastical metalwork was found next to the church. This consisted of a silver chalice from the 9th century, a large patten and stand, and a wine strainer. This material was probably hidden in the 9th or 10th century but never retrieved and is now displayed in the National Museum in Dublin.
What we see here today are the remains of two separate buildings. A church where only the chancel aligned to the east (80°) survives, and the east wall of a building aligned north-south.
The church is 9 metres long and 6 metres wide and has two windows in the east wall and three windows in the south wall. All the windows are of the trefoil type and have a splay on the inside.
Next to where the altar was there's a round-headed niche in the wall with a magnificent moulding. This was probably the place where the sacred vessels were kept.

At 78 metres to the northeast (30°) from the church there are three grave slabs.

The site is on a low hill in the middle of a bogland, where Bord na Móna cuts turf. Access to this site can be very difficult. There are two only routes that I know of. We took the longest one. From our car we walked for 35 minutes and 2.49 kilometres on a clear path for the first kilometre and on the hint of a path and among bushes and trees for the remaining part of the trip. Horses can be your companions during the long walk. Wear apt footwear.

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