Rathmichael Church

At the end of an anonymous laneway, you will find the ruins of the old Rathmichael Church and Graveyard. This is a graveyard that does not seem to have anyone recently interred in it.

This Graveyard also has five Rathdown Stones and a Hole Stone, as well as the ruins of a Round Tower. The existence of all of this is new information to me.

Rathdown Stones only occur in this area and are a throwback to the pagan heritage of the Vikings who settled in this area. The Vikings would have converted to Christianity, but, when they died, they used Pagan symbols on their burial stones. There were also some of these Stones in Tully Church, but, they had been damaged by people, so the authorities brought the Stones away for secure storage.

The Nave of this church is inside an earlier enclosure known as a Rath, this Rath would have been one of the largest in Ireland. The name Rathmichael may come from the Irish for Michael’s Fort. Rath is Irish for Fort and Mhic Tail is an early Irish version of the name Michael.

The Roundtower on the site was also known as the Skull Hole, as, bones were deposited in the remains of the Roundtower, rather than be re-interred when a local cemetery was being cleared out to create more space. A passage was found near the tower, that could be part of a rumoured tunnel, the tunnel allegedly goes all the way to the sea.

It is amazing the amount of history and heritage we have around us, that you become blind too on an everyday basis. One of the great things about photography, is that it has made me more observant.



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