Situated on a fairly level landscape at the NW edge of Dunboyne townland in an area that was known as Kilbraynan. The barony of Dunboyne was granted by Hugh de Lacy to Willaim le Petit, whose caput or principal manor was at Mullingar (WM019-089001-), Co. Westmeath. In 1227 Ralph Petit, bishop of Meath, founded the Augustinian priory of the Blessed Virgin at Mullingar (WM019-089009-) and endowed it with the land of Kilbrena (Kilbraynan) and the ecclesiastical properties of Dunboyne parish, one of only two parishes in the barony, the other being Kilbride. At the dissolution of the monasteries the Augustinians of Mullingar still held the rectory of Dunboyne together with land at Kylbraynan that was let to a Thomas Lutterell and other property in the parish (White 1943, 288-9). According to the local folklore the walls of the monastery were standing until c. 1800 (IFC: Schools’ Collection, vol. 0688, 068). (Cogan 1862, 188-9)
An oblique aerial photograph by L. Swan from the early 1970s shows a complex of earthwork banks, but at the centre is a rectangular enclosure (dims c. 40m N-S; c. 35m E-W) defined by what are probably low earthen banks. This could be overlying a circular enclosure (diam. c. 50m) defined by slighter features. All these are within a larger subcircular enclosure (dims c. 100m N-S; c. 90m E-W), and elements of a field system overlie all the features. The visible profiles of these features were removed in 1972 as further photographs by L. Swan demonstrate. Human remains and a bronze-coated iron hand-bell from Dunboyne were acquired by the National Museum of Ireland at this time, possibly from this location. The area was subject to partial magnetic gradiometer and earth resistance surveys (00R0014) by I. Elliot (2000) where the features recorded in the aerial photograph were confirmed. This could be the site of an early church with an ecclesiastical enclosure, although no known saint is associated with it.
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of upload: 1 November 2021
Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage