Cross Slabs, Holy Well and St Fintan's Tree.
A monastery was founded at Clonenagh by Saint Fintan who died in 603 AD. Saint Fintan lived a very austere life as a hermit in Clonenagh County Laois. Many disciples became attached to him and he soon became their abbot, amongst them was Saint Comgal. The austerity was so severe at the monastery that many surrounding monasteries were to complain that they could not keep up with them. Very little remains of the monastery now but amongst the most notable are various cross slabs lying against a wall in the old graveyard. Across the road from here there are the ruins of a church and a holy well. Standing just outside the graveyard is a stump of a tree known as Saint Fintan's Tree.
The tree was planted over 200 years ago inside the area of the old monastery, when the nearby well which also venerated Saint Fintan was closed, a spring appeared in the fork of the tree and this became a focal point for "Patterns" for many years. A custom developed of inserting coins into the bark of the tree which led to it's decay, but a number of shoots have been salvaged in the hope of prolonging the life of the tree.
Situated: From Dublin take the M 7 South. Clonenagh is situated along the N7 halfway between Cloneen and Mountrath.
Discovery Map 54: S 3889 9575. Last visit Mar 2007.
Longitude: 7° 25' 14" W
Latitude: 53° 0' 40" N
Photos: Jim Dempsey.