Situated at the S edge of a small plateau with the valley of the W- River Nanny immediately to the S and the stream is c. 90m to the S. A church at Kilkernan is listed in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV (Cal. doc. Ire. 5, 253). Ussher (1622) describes the church of Kilkervan as indifferently repaired and the chancel as ruined (Erlington 1847-64, 1, lxv). According to Dopping (1682-5) and the Royal Visitation (1693) the parish church of Kilsharvan, which was dedicated to St. John the Baptist, had been in ruins since 1641 and it was not fenced (Ellison 1971, 35). The church is in a rectangular graveyard (dims c. 70m E-W; c. 40m N-S) defined by masonry walls (H c. 2m) on four sides. The walls have been heightened with brick courses (H c. 1m) at E, S, and W, but not at N where there is an E-W section of the old Julianstown to Duleek road.
The church is a divided nave (int. dims c. 10m E-W; 5.43m N-S; ext. dims 12.75m E-W; W 6.9m N-S) and chancel (int. dims 7.15m E-W; 4.75m N-S; ext. dims 9.77m E-W; 6.6m N-S) and survives almost complete, except for the W wall and the chancel arch. There is extensive ivy growth, especially at the E and W ends of the church. There are opposing round-headed doorways of undecorated sandstone towards the W end of the N (Wth 1.1m; H 2.1m) and S (Wth 1.02m; H 1.37m) walls of the nave, the base of the S doorway being filled in and flush with the ground inside. The architraves of both doorways have vertical grooves from arrow-sharpening. The doorways are in flat-arched embrasures, that on the N with plank-centring, and the only stoup, inside the S doorway on the E side, has been removed. The only other feature of the nave is a tomb-niche (Wth 1.5m; H 1.15m; D 0.3m) in the S wall, E of the doorway, but the W wall must have had a large window to provide light as there is no other source in the nave.
The piers of the chancel arch have beam-holes on their inner faces, suggesting there was a rood screen. The chancel had a large E window, now removed, and there were two rectangular windows in the S wall, but only the W window with a double cusped ogee-head survives with roundels over the lights O'Neill 2002, Fog. 40). A sacristy (int. dims 3.18m N-S; 2.45m E-W) with a limestone cusped ogee-headed window (Wth 0.3m; H 0.72m) in the N wall was added to the N of the chancel, and it is accessed by a pointed doorway (Wth 0.71m; H 1.44m) from the chancel.
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 revision: 14 August, 2014Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.