Killskeer Graveyard

Map Reference: N663717 (2663, 2717)

St Columbcille is supposed to have founded an early monastery here dedicated to the virgin Schiria or Scire. It was a monastery for both men and women but from the 8th century only men are recorded as abbots. The church was plundered by Gothfrith and the Vikings from Dublin in 951 and by Diarmaid MacMurchada in 1170. There is now no visible trace of the early monastery. A recent geophysical survey revealed that there had been large circular enclosures such as those found at Nendrum, Faughart and Inch. In the graveyard is the overgrown ruin of a medieval church. It contains little of interest.

The most interesting structure to be found is a monument to Hugh O’Reilly, dated 1686. This takes the form of a box-tomb with a long inscription (mostly illegible) on the lid. One of the long side panels is visible and is carved with three figures.

The visible end panel is carved with a skull-and-crossbones, an angel and some other unidentifiable motifs.

The tomb is tight against a wall on which are mounted two square carved panels bearing coats-of-arms. It is possible that these are the two original end panels of the tomb, with the visible end panel being a broken side panel.

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