Colvinstown Upper

Kilranelagh Graveyard

I had been planning to visit these stones for some time but thought they might be difficult to locate, it could not have been easier. We travelled to the site from Baltinglass Abbey. The graveyard is surprisingly well sign-posted. We were able to drive right into this old ecclesiastic enclosure. The cemetery, the foundations of a church, St Brigid's holy well, a couple of small stone crosses, several interesting grave slabs, the grave of Sam Macalastair - a hero in the 1798 rebellion, and the "Gates of Heaven" are all located within the enclosure.

Roughly situated in the centre of the enclosure is a curious arrangement of stones. These stones are not featured in the Archaeological Survey Database, but they have the appearance of a megalithic portal. There are two large orthostats pointing in a southeasterly direction with a sill stone lying between them. In line with the western orthostat is another smaller slab. It became a local custom to carry the coffin between these two portal stones before being interred in the cemetery. According to the tradition, this would ensure that the deceased would go straight to heaven, hence the name "Gates of Heaven". The stones are believed to be the original entrance to the enclosure. The graveyard is situated in a wonderful location with many interesting antiquities and well worth taking the time to visit.

Situated: From Baltinglass head east on the R747, after 3kilometres turn left. Travel 2K turn left at T-Junction. 1.6 K turn right (Sign-posted). 500 metres turn left.

Discovery Map 62: S 9194 8916. Last visit May 2013.

Longitude: 6° 37' 55" W

Latitude: 52° 56' 44" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

Previous-----Home-----Next Page