Castlekeeran


Map Reference: N690773 (2690, 2773)

Diseart Chiarain or the Hermitage of Ciaran was named after a monk of the nearby monastery of Kells, who should not be confused with either of the better known Co Offaly saints. The site was plundered by Vikings in 949 and by Dermot MacMurrough in 1170. In the 13th century it passed to the Knights Hospitallers and by the 16th century it was owned by the Plunketts.



There are grass-grown remains of a small church about 14.5m by 7.5m. There are three almost intact High Crosses but none of them bears figure sculpture. However they have good moulding at the edges and one of them has some interlacing at the end of the arms. Such plain high Crosses are usualy called termon crosses and were used to define the boundaries of the monastic land.



There is the base of a fourth cross. Tradition says that St Ciaran caught St Columba in the act of stealing this cross for his monastery at Kells. Columba dropped the cross in the river in his haste to escape.





Beside the church is an Early Christian slab with a two-armed cross and an Ogham Stone with the inscription COVAGNI MAQI MUCOI LUGUNI. About 400m SW is St Ciaran's Well. The site is about 5km WNW of Kells.



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