St. Audoen's Church




N 53° 20' 36.6"   W 006° 16' 25.8"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

O 15023 33954

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Monday 26 May 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The St. Audoen's Church of Ireland church is a national monument and visitor centre.

This church was built in 1190 by the Anglo-Normans who arrived in Dublin about 20 years earlier. They dedicated the church to St. Ouen (or Audoen), a Frankish bishop who died in 686, and was later elected as a saint.
The place where the church was built was the site of a previous church dedicated to St. Columcille. Originally it only had a nave, but a century later a chancel was added to the east of it. In 1430 a second aisle was added south of the nave and it was dedicated to St. Anne. In 1485 Sir Rowland FitzEustace, Earl Portlester, erected a new chapel south of the chancel in gratitude for having his life spared after a shipwreck.
Anyway during the following century the maintenance of the church was poor and by 1630 it was in a derelict state. Efforts were made to restore the building, but despite these efforts the upkeeping of the church was still a problem and in 1825 the church was declared as in a ruinous state, parts of the church were closed and unroofed, as a consequences many tombs and memorials crumbled down or were irreparably weathered.
Extensive restoration and conservation works were carried out in the 1980's. Now the St. Anne's chapel has been converted into a visitor centre with an exhibition of the history of the church.
Next to the tower there's the main porch where a Celtic gravestone is stored. This stone dates from the 9th century and stood outside the church for decades. It is called the Lucky Stone and it is said to have supernatural powers. In the 14th century merchants believed that rubbing or touching the stone daily would have brought success in business. It was stolen several times but it always made its way back to its position. It has been set in its present position in 1860's by Dr. Alexander Leeper and it is said that the ghosts of clergymen constantly guard the stone.
Under the tower at the west end of the church is the chest tomb with the effigies of Sir Rowland FitzEustace and his third wife Margaret D'Artois, though the tomb is actually empty, because they are buried in the New Abbey graveyard.

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