Located on top of a hill with a wide view over the valley of the River Boyne with Oldbridge c. 2km to the NW. A chapel at Donore is listed in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV (Cal. doc. Ire. 5, 254). Ussher describes the church and chancel at Dunmore or Donowre as repaired (Erlington 1847-64, 1, lxvii). The Jacobite army camped on the hill before the battle of the Boyne in 1690, and James II is said to have viewed the battle from this vantage point (Hall 1842, 2, 431 2). According to Dopping’s Visitation (1682-5) the church of St Mannore had been repaired by John Jemmet, a papist, and the graveyard was not fenced (Ellison 1971, 36-7). The dedication could be to Moninne, a highly mythologised female saint, associated particularly with Killevy, Co. Armagh (Ó Riain 2011, 495-7), or more probably Fiontan Fionn, associated with Dromin, Co. Louth (ibid. 343-4).
The parish church of Donore is within an oval graveyard (dims c. 60m ENE-WSW; c. 35m NNW-SSE) defined by masonry walls and many of the headstones have been recorded (Sadleir 1913-14). There is a watch house, which is a masonry structure (ext. dims 3.55m E-W; 2.6m N-S) with a stone roof on the perimeter of the graveyard at S. It has a doorway and two slit windows at N, facing into the graveyard. It would have been used in the 18th and early 19th centuries to deter grave robbing. The foundations of the E end of the church are visible (ext. dims 10m plus E-W; 7.2m N-S). The head of a disc-headed cross (ME020-011003-) was present in 1968 but is now missing, and a graveslab, commemorating John Senet who died in 1609 (D’Alton 1844, 2, 464; Wilde 1850, 243 Sadlier 1913-14), is in the graveyard. The graveslab (dims 1.55m x 0.98m; T 0.1m) has a crest and an incised inscription, but the head of the slab is damaged.
The above description is derived from the published 'Archaeological Inventory of County Meath' (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1987). In certain instances the entries have been revised and updated in the light of recent research.
See the attached image of the Senet graveslab.
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of upload/revision: 15 December, 2014Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.