Situated on a gentle NE-facing slope. This is an early church site. According to Dopping’s visitation (1682-5) the St. Bohin chapel at Rathboyne had a large church and chancel, but only the walls were standing then and the graveyard was not enclosed (Ellison 1973, 9). The saint is Baoithín, son of Cuana (Cogan 1862-70, 2, 262-3), who was descended from the Ceinéal Éanna branch of the Ceinéal Connaill of Inishowen, Co. Donegal. Baoithín was a close associate of St. Colum Cille. He is most connected with Taghboyne, Co. Westmeath (WM025-078001), and his feastday is on 19 February (Ó Riain 2011, 89-90).
The parish church of Balrathboyne, represented by the conserved foundations (Wth 0.9-1.1m; max. H 1m) of a divided nave (int. dims 12.1m E-W; 5.45m N-S) and chancel (int. dims 6.65m E-W; 4.2m N-S) church (ext. L 23.45m), is within a subrectangular graveyard (dims c. 95m E-W; c. 55m N-S) with no defining feature. The church is featureless, as graves are impinging on the walls at the likely locations of the doorways in the nave. Two flat-rimmed, octagonal fonts are located in the church. One is a sandstone (dim. 0.54m; H 0.31m) and has a circular basin (diam. 0.44m; D 0.2m) with chamfered under-panels, the other is limestone (dims 0.56m x 0.52m; H 0.23m) with a circular, dished basin (diam. 0.42m; max. D 0.17m). The graveyard is within a larger ecclesiastical enclosure (dims c. 160m ENE-WSW; c. 105m NNW-SSE) defined by an earthen bank (at S: Wth 4.2m; int. H 1.7m; ext. H 1.2m) and hedge S-W-N-SE and a masonry wall of the graveyard elsewhere. The bank (at N: Wth of bank 7m; int. H 0.6m; ext. H 3.5m) is accompanied by an external fosse (at N: Wth of top 8.6m; Wth of base 2m; ext. D 1.3m) and outer bank or field bank (Wth 2m; ext. H 0.5m) W-N-NE. The rath (ME024-001005-) and mound (ME024-001006-) are within the ecclesiastical enclosure, N of the graveyard.
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.
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of upload/revision: 24 June, 2014Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage