St Columba's Church

St Columba's Church (HMHK4)

Location: Tucson, Meath 85701 Meath
Country: Ireland
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N 53° 43.647', W 6° 52.72'

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Kells Heritage Trail

Diarmuld MacCarroll, High King of Tara, is said to have granted the dun of Cenannus to St Columcille in the 6th century for the purpose of establishing a monastery. This may explain why in 804 the Columban community on the island of Iona (Hebrides), then the principal Columban monastery, moved to Kells to escape the reaches of Norse raiding parties. St Columba's church stands on the site of the original Columban monastery. It became a cathedral church 1152 when the diocese of Kells was established, and a parish church in 1211 when dioceses of Kells and Meath amalgamated. The church houses a facsimile of the Book of Kells and an exhibition on the history of the site.

Hugh Brady, Anglican Bishop of Meath, rebuilt the church including the present bell tower in 1578. An inscription on the tower commemorates this event. Another inscription of the same date is found on the west side of the tower.

In 1655 the church, in a state of ruins, was used by Cromwell's army as a horse barracks. The present church was built in 1778 by Thomas Taylor, First Earl of Bective, at a cost of ?2,121. He also added the entrance gates and the spire to the bell tower in 1783. Both church and spire were designed by Thomas Cooley, who also designed Dublin's City Hall. The stone mason was John Walsh.

Four of the high crosses of Kells, the South Cross, the West or Broken Cross, the East or Unfinished Cross, and the North Cross are located on the grounds of St Columba's Church.
HM NumberHMHK4
Placed ByMeath Tourism
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 at 10:16pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)29U E 639949 N 5955287
Decimal Degrees53.72745000, -6.87866667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 53° 43.647', W 6° 52.72'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds53° 43' 38.82" N, 6° 52' 43.20" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)520
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 4 Church Street, Tucson Meath 85701, IE
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