The Protestant Church of St Michael and All the Angels was situated here, on the site of St Ailbe's fifth century monastery, before being moved to Millicent in 1883. The Church and graveyard slowly fell into decay before being restored by the local community. The church is now used as a community centre and the old graveyard is a garden of remembrance. Most of the gravestones around the garden are relatively modern 18th 19th century headstones, but to the rear of the church is an early 17th century table-tomb/altar-tomb. It stands against part of an old wall, that has two shields inserted. The top one is a plain shield with 1618 inscribed on it, the second and larger one bears the Wogan/O'Neill coat of arms.

Inscribed on the top corners of the plaque, above the shield is the year 1716. Sir Neil O'Neill (1658-1690), 2nd Baronet of Shane Castle, Killyleagh, Co Antrim, was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Armagh in 1689 by King James II of England. Sir Neil was wounded in the Battle of the Boyne and died in Waterford. He was buried in Greyfriars Abbey (The French Church) in Waterford City. His daughter Rose married a Nicholas Wogan of Rathcoffey. Nicholas and Rose are probably where the mixed Wogan and O'Neil coat of arms originated. The name Patrick Murry is inscribed on the frame around the coat of arms, Patrick was probably the sculptor.

A memorial stone above the table tomb bears the inscription pictured below, it reads: HEAR LIETH INTOVMBED THE BODY OF WILLIAM WOGAN OF RATHCOFFIE ESQVIR WHO DECEASED THE LAST OF DECEMBER IN ANNO DOMINI 1616 BEINGE OF THE ADGE OF XXVII YEARS. William was married to Anne Plunkett daughter of Christopher Plunkett 8th Baron of Killeen. They had six children, three sons Nicholas, James and William and the daughters, Elizabeth, Mary and Jane. After the death of William, Anne married Thomas Hussey of Mulhussey, Co Meath. The Wogans lost Rathcoffey to government forces during the civil wars in 1642, but regained it after the restoration in 1660.

At the front of the tomb are six niches, each containing a figure, only the figure on the extreme right is finished. These figures were meant to represent Williams children, the three on the left his sons with his daughters on the right. The initials of each sibling are carved above each figure from left to right, NW, IW, WW, EW, MW and IW. The letter I is the Latin alphabet represented the letter J and the letter V represented U. The crucifixion, pictured above right, is carved on the left side of the table tomb.

Situated: On the grounds of the Abbey Community Centre in the centre of the town.

Discovery Map 49: N 8771 2751. Last visit July 2020.

Longitude: 6° 41' 06" W

Latitude: 53° 17' 26" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

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