The parish church of Rathregan is located at the crest of a NE-facing slope down to the NW-SE Tolka River, which is c. 80m to the NE and close to its source. A church at Rathregan is listed in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV (Cal. doc. Ire., 5, 254). The rectory of Rathregan was amongst the possessions of the Augustinian priory at Newtown (ME036-049003-) at its suppression in 1540 (White 1943, 296). Ussher (1622) describes the church and chancel at Rathreggan as ruined (Erlington 1847-64, 1, lxx). According to Dopping’s visitation (1682-5) the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary had been unroofed since 1641 but the walls were standing and the graveyard was not enclosed (Ellison 1971, 38). According to Cogan (1862-70, vol. 2, 360-1) the church measured ’74 feet by 18 feet (c. 22.55m x c. 5.5m). The foundations (Wth 0.9m; H 0.4- 1.4m) of a rectangular nave (int. dims c. 14m E-W; 5.5m N-S) and a possible chancel (int. dim c. 7m E-W) survive in a neglected D-shaped graveyard (dims. c. 48m NE-SW; c. 40m NW-SE) defined by masonry walls with straight sides at the SW and NW sides. There is a roadway outside the perimeter SE-SW, and the few headstones date from c. 1850 to c. 1940. The rath (WM044-020----) is c. 60m to the NNW.
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: 7 April, 2015
Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage