Fortified Church

The fortified church at Killelan is situated on a small rise in the centre of a rectangular graveyard. My first thoughts were how impressive it looked. With the circular turret projecting from the northwest corner of the remaining tower, you can see why it is known locally as the Castle of Killelan. The entrance to the graveyard is to the east and the walk to the tower proved a bit hazardous due to the long grass. All that remains of the nave are the foundations, which I could feel underfoot. The tower has a high barrel vault with two openings in the south and east walls. An opening at ground level in the north wall allows access to the circular turret. A piscina present in the south wall. There is very little information to be found about the church, but it is believed to be the remains of an abbey founded by the Knights Hospitallers in the early part of the 13th century. There is evidence of some rebuilding to the walls and the circular turret may be a 15th century addition. I believe there is a medieval graveslab to the SSE of the church, but this was too difficult to find in the tricky conditions underfoot, maybe next time, see below.

Hollywood graveslab

I was was visiting the high cross at Moone and decided to call back to the nearby fortified church at Killelan. Last time I was here I failed to find the 13th century medieval graveslab. These granite slabs are known as the Hollywood slabs, I have visited quite a few sites featuring these graveslabs recently, so armed with more knowledge I quickly found the graveslab. It is situated about 25 metres south of the church tower. It is a rectangular block of granite with a latin cross carved in low relief on the northside. There are slight traces of roll-moulding along the top and right sides of the slab. The moulding and latin cross will show upper better during a morning visit.uickly

Situated: From Moone Village in Kildare head south following the road as it turns sharp left. Killelan Church is about 1 kilometre down here on your right.

Discovery Map 55: S 8043 9099. Last visit May 2019.

Longitude: 6° 48' 10" W

Latitude: 52° 57' 49" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

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