Louth & Meath

Saturday 15 June

An investigation was made into the borderlands of Louth and Meath. A rath was inspected (N974814). It is about 30m diameter with a low platform and remains of a shallow ditch and a low outer bank.

The twin-towered facade of the Church of St Louis, Rathkenny (1800-1974) (N891781) has been retained as the entrance to the graveyard. The site of the high altar is marked by a modern marble table and some of the original mosaic is visible. Some carved fragments of an early church are stored beneath one of the towers. A windmill stump was noted near Tankardstown House (N918778).

The ruins on Slane Hill (N962752) are of two buildings. To the south is a church within a graveyard. At the west end of the church is a tower standing to full height. Above the arch of the tower is an ornate three-light window. At the top storey are two small windows at each face. Above the south windows on the outside is a carved mask. Within the tower is a narrow stairway. The church has a nave with a south aisle. Just inside the north wall of the graveyard is a dried-up holy well. The other building is known as the College. It has the remains of some fine mullioned and transomed windows and a number of decorated stones, including some carved masks. There are many fireplaces throughout the building and a large vaulted room within which is a collection of carved fragments. A spiral stairway at the corner of this room rises to roof level. Further west from the church and college is a motte (N961752).

The excavations at Knowth (N996734) were inspected. They are closed to the public and access to the large mound was not possible. It was possible to investigate some of the satellite passage tombs which have been reconstructed. Within one of these is the entrance to a small souterrain.

Dowth Church (O026737) is an overgrown rectangular ruin with a double bell- cote in the west gable and doorways in the north and south walls. On the outside of the south wall is a memorial to John Boyle O'Reilly (1844-90). Beside the church is a greatly modified tower-house. It features pecked decoration, a good defensive loop and a small round three-light window.

There is a projecting tower at one corner.

Dowth Henge (O031741) was investigated. It is a huge circular bank about 4m high and 12m wide at the base. The diameter is about 125m. There are two large gaps almost opposite each other and a third smaller gap which may be recent.

The church near Barmeath Castle (O100880) is an ivy-covered ruin with a double bell-cote in the west gable and a pointed doorway in the south wall. There are some 18th century gravestones in the churchyard.