Located on a slight rise in a level landscape. A church at Kilmore is listed in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV (Cal. doc. Ire., 5, 255). Ussher (1622) describes the church and chancel as reasonably well repaired (Erlington 1847-64, 1, lxxiv). According to Dopping (1682-5) the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and its chancel were under repair and the graveyard was enclosed. The church had been re-consecrated in 1686 but it was damaged by the Irish in 1689, according to the Royal visitation (1693) (Ellison 1972. 4). Lewis (1837, 2, 185) describes the church as a ‘small ancient structure’, but it had been abandoned by the end of the century (Moore 1975, 38) when the slate Duncan/Echlin slab, dated 1746, was moved to St. Seachnall’s Church of Ireland church in Dunshaughlin.
The roofless ruin of a single cell structure (ext. dims 12.3m WNW-ESE; 7.15m NNE-SSW; int. dims 10.75m WNW-ESE; 5.65m NNE-SSW) survives complete with ivy-covered walls (Wth 0.74-0.79m; H 4-4.4m) that have two rectangular windows (Wth 1.2m; H 1.95m) in both the N and S walls and a larger, pointed window (Wth 1.55m; H 3m) in the E wall. The belfry over the W gable probably has a single opening, and the quoin stones are hammer-dressed. The W doorway (Wth of top 0.95m; Wth of base1.02m; H 2.07m) has battered sides, an elliptical head and an external hollow chamfer that is probably made from stones of the medieval church, many of which are re-used as grave-markers in the graveyard, including ones from a pointed doorway. The church could be that of the 1680s, but a porch (ext. dims 4.1m NNE-SSW; 3.5m WNW-ESE) with a destroyed doorway at W was added to the W gable.
Apart from the doorway, all the dressed stone from the present structure has been removed, but two pieces of elaborately moulded architrave, probably from the E window, are set upright (H 1.24m; 1.27m) in the graveyard. A window-sill from the medieval church (Wth of window 0.38m) is also in the subrectangular graveyard (dims c. 65m WNE-ESE; c. 35-50m NNE-SSW) defined by earthen banks and trees. Headstones dating from 1734 to 1960 have been recorded (ibid. 39-45), but burial continues to the present. A section of road (L c. 65m), evident as a berm (Wth 7.5m) defined by the scarp of the graveyard (H 1m) at S and a ditch (Wth of top 5m; D at S 0.4m) and outer bank (Wth 3m; H at S 1; H at N 0.5m) at N survives just N of the graveyard, where the original Dunboyne to Summerhill road ran (ibid. 38). The road extended further E (L c. 75m) on the 1836 ed. of the OS 6-inch map. The field system (ME043-041----) is just to the N.
The graveslab (L 1.73m; Wth 0.46-0.66m; T 0.1m), which has a raised Crucifixion (Harbison 2000, 55) and an inscription in false relief commemorating Rory Buí McMahon in Latin and Irish, is displayed just S of the church. It was found in the graveyard and has the date 1575 (FitzGerald 1907-09; Hunt 1974, 210). The head of a cross (H 0.5m; span 0.43m; T 0.2m), now outside the Roman Catholic church at Moynalvy (ME043-028001-), c. 2.5km to the NW, is from this graveyard. It was discovered in 1837, was subsequently buried, and rediscovered c. 1966 (Moore 1975, 38-9). It has a Crucifixion in false relief on one face and symbol of the Passion on the other (King 1984, 108). A slab (dims c. 0.5m x c. 0.2-0.35m; T 0.1m) with a deeply incised cross (H c. 0.2m; span c. 0.2m) that has expanding terminals (Wth of lines c. 2cm) was found c. 1970 (Moore 1975, 43, No. 23), but it is not now visible in 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.
Date of revision: 24 March, 2015
Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.