Preface and Introduction

In 1849 William Wilde described Duleek as a ‘long straggling village’ and the town provides a similar impression to the modern visitor but much of Duleek’s layout is hidden behind its two greens and the main route ways through the town.[1]

Duleek, county Meath, occupies one of the oldest town sites in Ireland. The site was occupied from at least 500 AD. On 24 November 1989 Duleek commemorated the town’s 1500th anniversary with a special mass which was celebrated by the archbishop of Armagh, Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiach.

The origins of Duleek date from the Early Christian period and the curvilinear village plan reflects the layout of the monastery. This monastic proto-town served the religious community and also a secular society.

A chartered borough from the Anglo-Norman period Duleek did not thrive, possibly due to its proximity to the larger town of Drogheda. However it did not fail and continued to provide urban functions to the present day.

The environment of the town consists essentially of the ecclesiastical core, two  greens and the curvilinear main street. The architecture of the village includes very significant medieval remains, as well as a range of interesting and attractive eighteenth and nineteenth century houses and public buildings. Duleek is a significant settlement in terms of cultural heritage with no less than twenty two protected structures with thirty two recorded sites and monuments of archaeological interest.[2] Due to the number of sites and lack of documentary evidence there is confusion with regard to the identification of the various medieval ecclesiastical sites within the town.

The town has no clear limits as it did not have town walls or active corporation and development was spread out over a larger area with such facilities as post office and railway station being located some distance from the main urban settlement. As these services are associated with the town they are included in the study.

Duleek while one of the major settlements in the east of county Meath was overshadowed by Drogheda, which while administratively in county Louth served the eastern part of Meath. Duleek would now also be overshadowed by the recent coastal development of Laytown-Bettystown. Laytown has become the site for the new secondary school (2008) to serve the area despite Duleek’s central location in the east Meath area. 

Famed for having the first stone church in Ireland Duleek was voted Ireland’s friendliest town in a poll in March 2007 by the national radio station, Newstalk 106, and was also home to the grandmother of the Gallagher brothers of Oasis fame. A site to the east of the town at Carranstown is to be the location for the first commercial waste incinerator in Ireland.

The topographical development of Duleek

Duleek is located in the north-east of the republic of Ireland, in the eastern part of county Meath. The town is mainly located in the townland of The Commons but a portion is also in Abbeylands townland.

Duleek is situated 8 km southwest of Drogheda, 19 km east of the county capital of Navan, 13 km west of the coast at Laytown-Bettytown and 42 km north of Dublin, the capital of Ireland.  Duleek is located at the heart of the rich eastern triangle, with easy access to the Irish Sea. The territory has been attractive for all new cultures and new arrivals to Ireland since Neolithic times. From this area new arrivals had their best chance for commanding the whole country, while at the same time allowing easy access to routes abroad. [3]

Situated on the north bank of the Nanny river in a sheltered valley, Duleek is surrounded by low-lying hills. The town is constructed on a ridge which runs north-east south-west parallel to the river. With portions of the modern town on the banks of the river low lying parts of the town are subject to flooding with notable floods occurring in 1903, 1954 and 1996. The nearby Nanny river and two subsidiary streams are features of the town’s landscape. The Paramadda river (or Moate river) rises in Thomastown bog, passes through the town before joining the river Nanny at the bridge to the south of the town. To the north and east of the town is a low lying marshy area known as The Commons. Duleek commons is a proposed Natural Heritage Area as is Thomastown bog, 3km west of Duleek.

The foundation of a settlement at Duleek was influenced by its location on a crossing point on the river Nanny. Duleek provided a route way from north to south. This route way ran through a pass in the marshy commons and across the river and onto the south. This route may have served the major Neolithic settlements at Bru na Boinne and was possibly a route way from Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth to Fourknocks in the south. The principal seat for the tribe of the Ciannachta, Duleek was a centre of political power. As a significant ecclesiastical centre Duleek was attractive as a site for secular development. Duleek appears to have been on the route from Dublin to Armagh via Lusk to the south and the ford of Oldbridge to the north. As an episcopal see Duleek became the centre point for the surrounding territory and was recognised as such in the twelfth century.[4]

St. Cianán erected a stone church or damh liag at Duleek. Domum Liacc Cennani is recorded in the writing of Tirechan in the late seventh century.[5] The first record of Duleek as a monastery occurred in the Annals of Ulster when Aldchú of Dam Liac, died in 725. From 783 abbots of Duleek are recorded in the annals. However man has inhabited the area from earliest times with evidence of Neolithic settlement being uncovered in the area. Fragments of Neolithic pottery and a hammerstone were uncovered at an archaeological investigation at Duleek Quarry, a short distance north-west of the town.[6] As Newgrange, Bru na Boinne, Tara and Four Knocks are nearby it is likely that there was major settlement in the vicinity of Duleek during the Neolithic period. A Bronze age burial was uncovered at nearby Keenogue dating to 1800 BC.[7]

Duleek was the site of the royal residence for the territory of Ciannachta Brega. There was a large enclosure on the south side of the Nanny river, not far from the bridge and now cut by the Drogheda-Ashbourne road. This may have been the secular centre of the kingdom of Ciannachta Brega.[8]

The foundation of Duleek as a monastic site is attributed to St. Cianán. Little of historical substance is known of St. Cianán. Cianán is the diminutive form of Cian, meaning little Cian. Bradley suggested that Cianán was a Christianised form of tribal ancestor deity. Some early Christian churches were erected at pre-existing cult centres.[9]

Tirechan, writing in the late seventh century, stated that Cianán was ordained by St. Patrick and presented with a set of Gospels. The seventh and eight centuries was a period when the cult of saints began with hagiography of the major saints being written and there was substantial physical development of religious sites. The traditional birth date for Cianán is 442. According to tradition Duleek was the eighth church built by St. Patrick in the plain of Bregia. According to another source the name of the site of the stone church was previously Argetbor. St. Cianán death is recorded in the annals as 24 November 489.[10]

St. Cianán of Doim Líacc and his shrine is mentioned inThe Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee written c.830.St. Cianán’s tomb was preserved to the east of the damh liac.[11] Such was the importance of St. Cianán that St. Colmcille and St. Adaman are said to have made pilgrimages to the shrine at Duleek.[12]  Cianán’s tomb was a shrine and place of pilgrimage until at least 1381.[13] As a centre of pilgrimage the track and road system in the local area would have focused on the monastery.

The location of the original damh liac is unclear. It was most likely located where the Church of Ireland and graveyard later stood and not at the site identified in OS maps as ‘St. Cianán’s church’.

Traditionally accepted as the first stone church in Ireland the name was not unique to Duleek but it is at Duleek that the name has survived. Armagh and other monasteries had their own damliag but Duleek’s church was the first recorded. As the first stone church the name implies an early ecclesiastical settlement. The site was in an area of low agricultural potential, on a ridge or island in marshy grounds. The monastery would have facilitated the expansion of farmland and woodland clearance.

Byrne suggested that the people of the area adopted Cianán as a symbol of antiquity and unity to forge a new identity.[14] The ruling dynasty of the Ciannachta was displaced by the Uí Neill in the seventh century. Dedication to Cianán survived and was perhaps increased. The annals make no mention of Duleek between 489 and 725 after which there is a list of its bishops, abbots and churches. As a monastic site Duleek developed into a proto town from 8th century onwards.   

Figure 1: Ornamentation from North Cross

From H.S. Crawford, ‘the early crosses of east and west Meath’ in RSAI Jn (1926), plate between pp 5-6.

Duleek’s early Christian monastic site was centred on the graveyard and is indicated by the presence of the high crosses, an early grave slab and the traces of the round tower. These remains are within a larger enclosure.

Within the graveyard are preserved the remains of two elaborately carved high crosses dating to the ninth or tenth century. The North Cross is quite small, 1.5m high, and portrays the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Holy Family and the Crucifixion. Only the top of the South Cross remains, now mounted on a base.[15]

Dating to the tenth century, the round tower or bell tower was a status symbol of early monasteries. The round tower would have been a beacon for travellers in the area. The OPW estimated that the Duleek round tower had an external diameter of 5.18 metres. A ghost of the tower remains in north wall of bell tower. There is a doorway or a window from the bell tower to the round tower at a height of about 9 metres which suggests that the round tower stood until at least the 15th century when the bell tower was erected.[16]

Figure 3: Round Tower at Duleek Artists Impression OPW Information Panel at St. Keenan church, Duleek. From photo by author.

Outside the central enclosure is the remains of a medieval church marked ‘St. Cianán’s church’ on the OS maps.  Erected into the wall of the church is a grave slab. This pre-Norman cross slab may be of late date, possibly 12th century. The large stone has an inscription ‘Or do Scanalan’. A second slab existed up until the last century but is now missing.[17]

Figure 2:  Inscribed Slab

From Bradley, ‘St. Patrick’s church, Duleek’, p. 43.

The most enduring legacy of the monastery was to be the street plan of the town which was influenced by the enclosure surrounding the monastery. Other early Christian settlements such as Kells, Armagh and Lusk also preserve the shape of their enclosures in their street pattern.

Figure 4: Map of Monastic Enclosure imposed on 1979 OS map

There was an outer enclosure surrounding the monastery and there may have been two internal enclosures. The outer enclosure measured 350m east-west and 300m north-south and enclosed over 6 hectares.  The enclosure consisted of a defensive ditch and a surrounding rampart. The inner enclosures surrounded the church of St. Cianán and a second one surrounded the church of St. Patrick. The shape of the outer enclosure may be traced in the curving line of Main Street to the south and south east, Larrix Street to the north and Kennel Lane and a field boundary to the north-west. The ditch was cut into the underlying boulder clay. In recent years archaeological investigations have provided evidence of the enclosure ditch at Main Street, Larrix Street and Navan Road.[18]

Figure 5: Aerial view of Duleek from the north-west by Leo Swan c. 1970

From: Swan, ‘Monastic proto-towns in early medieval Ireland: The evidence of aerial photography, plan analysis and survey’, p. 79.

Swan stated that Duleek was a good example of an ecclesiastical enclosure. Using aerial photography Swan traced the large oval enclosure by following the street pattern. He also identified an inner enclosure of oval or sub rectangular shape, defined by the curves of the laneway near St. Keenan’s Church. With the exception of St. Patrick’s church all the ecclesiastical remains are within the inner enclosure. A number of the lanes and field boundaries radiate out from the central enclosure.[19] Swan argued that there was a remarkable consistency in the basic planning and format of these monastic proto towns. The inner enclosure contained the remains of a church, afterwards used as an abbey site, a round tower and high crosses. Duleek has a similar layout to Kells and so was a planned site, a feature of an urban landscape.  Using Swan’s model a market place in front of the approach from the east would place a market on Duleek’s eastern boundary on the approaches from the hilly south and on approaches from Lusk, the nearest major monastery to the southeast.[20]

A number of souterrains have been discovered within the enclosure. Souterrains are dated to the second half of the first millennium AD and were defensive features. Used as places of refuge the underground passages may date to ninth or tenth century. A souterrain at east of the town was uncovered in 1962. An unusual Y-shaped souterrain tunnelled out of hard-packed gravel was uncovered in 1982 on the western perimeter of the town, within the line of the enclosure. The existence of more than one souterrain indicates that Duleek was subject to attack and would also indicate that there was substantial number of inhabitants requiring refuge.[21]

Figure 6: Souterrain at Commons, Duleek.

From Mark Clinton, ‘Souterrains in potential association with church sites in county Meath’, p.153

Duleek was a centre of specialised skills with scribes and stone masons working at the site. The abbots and bishops of Duleek are sometimes recorded as scribes in the annals which suggests that there was a centre of learning at Duleek and possibly a scriptorium. A book, later preserved as the Gospel of St. Cianán, may have been an illuminated manuscript in the tradition of the Book of Kells. Duleek provided abbots and bishops for other monasteries such as Lusk, Louth, Slane, Clonard and Clonmacnoise.[22] 

Duleek was not just an ecclesiastical centre. Laymen are mentioned connected with the monastery of Duleek in the annals. The position of erenagh, which suggests lay status is mentioned in 955, 984, 1045 and 1093. The position of comarba which may be lay or religious is used in entries of 1098 and 1127.[23]

Duleek was a relatively wealthy monastery, able to afford a round tower and high crosses. The monastery must have employed skilled labour to carve the crosses and construct the tower.  

Cerpán of Dam Liac died in 754 according to the Annals of Ulster. Cerpán may have had a church in his honour as there are records of a church of St. Cairbre in the thirteenth century.[24]

From 8th century onward the primacy of Armagh was recognised by Duleek. The devotion to St. Patrick may have been introduced to the area following the conquest of the Ciannachta by the Uí Néill following the battle of Imlech Pinch in 688. Marked on OS as St. Cianán’s church Bradley has identified this site as St. Patrick’s church and suggested that it was an early Christian foundation. St. Patrick’s church had its own enclosure to the north-west of St. Cianán’s church. St. Patrick is said to have founded the church at Duleek for St. Cianán with the earliest reference to this foundation being c.700.[25] In the tenth century the abbot of Duleek was also steward of the family of Patrick. [26]

The monastery was of sufficient size and importance to have been plundered and raided by the Vikings on a number of occasions. The earliest recorded raid took place in 830. Duleek was located between the Viking settlements of Dublin and Annagasan.  Many people were taken into slavery in the raid of 881 which indicates that Duleek was a sizeable settlement while the church was demolished in the raid of 918. [27]

According to a twelfth century account the bodies of Brian Bóruma and his son, Murchad, were brought to Duleek on the way to burial at Armagh following the battle of the Clontarf in 1014. The monks of Duleek transported the bodies on the next stage of the journey to the monastery of Louth. The selection of Duleek as a staging point by Brian Bóruma may indicate its importance in the twelfth century and possibly indicate that it was on a route way between Armagh and Dublin. [28]

The twelfth century saw a two-fold change in Duleek’s status. It was recognised as a diocesan see in the first half and created a chartered town in the latter half of the century. In 1105 the archbishop of Armagh died at Duleek indicating that it was an important ecclesiastical centre.

The reform of Irish ecclesiastical life resulted in Duleek being recognised as a see by the synod of Rathbreasail in 1111. This synod set the boundary between the dioceses of Armagh and Duleek at Slieve Breagh, the range of hill running from Collon to Clogher Head. The synod of Rathbreasil envisaged the diocese of Glendalough and Dublin bordering the diocese of Duleek at a line from Lambay to Greenogue.[29]  Although no bishop of Duleek attended the synod of Kells in 1152, Duleek’s position was again recognised as a suffragan diocese of Armagh. As the centre of an episcopal see Duleek could be termed to have been a city. Information on the existence and functioning of the diocese of Duleek is lacking but the death of Gillamochuda Mac Camchuarta, bishop of Daimhliag, is recorded in 1117 while Aodh of Duleek died in 1160 but it is unclear if Aodh was bishop or not.[30] Duleek was amalgamated into the diocese of Meath in the later part of the twelfth century. The coat of arms of Meath diocese displays three mitres, representing the dioceses of Duleek, Clonard and Kells which were amalgamated. By 1265 Duleek was accepted as one of the eleven deaneries in the diocese of Meath.[31]

By the time of the synod of Kells Uriel had expanded into Brega and the monastery of Mellifont had been established on the disputed territory on the north of the Boyne. O Ceallaigh of Brega established an Augustinian monastery at Duleek about 1150, perhaps to prevent further expansion by Ua Cerbaill of Uriel.[32] In 1147 a thunderbolt fell on the round tower of Duleek and knocked off its conical cap.[33]

St. Cianán’s church was re-built in twelfth century prior to the arrival of the Anglo-Normans as demonstrated by the Romanesque head-capital now preserved in the ruins in the graveyard. The Romanesque capital may date to the foundation of the new monastery.

Figure 7: Romanesque capital

From Harold G. Leask, Irish churches and monastic buildings (Dundalk, 1955), i, p. 100.

Duleek was of sufficient size to present an attractive target for attack and of sufficient status to make such an attack significant. Duleek was also a political centre with various regional kings in residence. In 1023 Ainbhith Ua Cathasaigh, lord of the Saithne, was slain at Duleek in a raid by the Vikings of Dublin. In 1055 Duleek was raided by the Munster king, Murchad Ua Briain. In 1070 Gluiniarn, son of Diarmait, son of Mael-na-mbo, king of Leinster, was buried at Duleek.  In 1093 Trenfhear Ua Ceallaigh, lord of Breagha, was killed at Duleek. In 1123 Murchadh Ua Maeleachlainn, king of Tara, seems to have made his headquarters at Duleek. Eighty houses were burned in the attack by the Gaileanga but the king escaped. In 1149 Duleek was plundered by the king of Leinster, Diarmait Mac Murchada, and the Vikings of Dublin. The fact that the kings were in residence indicates the secular importance of Duleek and the number of houses burned indicates the size of the settlement. Being the burial place of kings indicates attempts by intruders to link Duleek to a new ruling dynasty. Duleek may have functioned as a political capital for the area.[34] In 1169 the daim liac was burned.[35]

With the arrival of the Anglo-Norman forces under Strongbow and the taking of Dublin in 1170 Duleek became a target for attack by these new invaders. In 1171 Duleek was plundered by Milo de Cogan and his forces from Dublin.[36]

The kingdom of Mide was granted to Hugh de Lacy by Henry II in 1172.  The size and prosperity of the ecclesiastical settlement at Duleek attracted Hugh de Lacy to choose it as the site of one of his first castles in Meath. Duleek was retained as a seignorial manor by de Lacy. De Lacy may have consider Duleek as a site for his caput but chose Trim as Duleek was not sited on a major river and was not centrally located in his grant of Mide.

Hugh de Lacy’s motte castle was erected just outside the enclosure. Entrusting the castles at Trim and Duleek and his lands to Hugh Tyrell, de Lacy returned to England in late 1172.[37] In 1174 the Irish high king, Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair, decided to invade Mide. De Lacy’s constable at Duleek, Hugh Tyrell, decided that forces at the castles at Trim and Duleek were not adequate for a successful defence, destroyed some of the fortifications and abandoned the castles, retreating to Dublin. The Irish forces marched on to the outskirts of Dublin and into east Mide where they destroyed de Lacy’s castle at Duleek. The Irish were forced to retreat when Strongbow and Raymond le Gros mustered their forces and inflicted a defeat on the Irish rearguard. Tyrell returned to restore the fortifications and guard them with ‘great honour.’[38]

In 1783 Austin Cooper described the motte as ‘a large Danish mount, which being composed of good gravel, is very much cut away and will in a short time be all taken away.’  The motte had disappeared by the time of the first OS map and the site was marked as a gravel pit.

Figure 8:  Duleek motte, 1783.

From Cooper, An Eighteenth century antiquary: The sketches, notes and diaries of Austin Cooper 1759-1830

Orpen’s description of the location is confusing, placing the motte at the junction of the Motte stream and the Nanny but in the village while Simms identified the motte site as being on Carey’s Lane where there is a circular ditch which the road skirts around. However local research and later excavations place it to the east of the stream which crosses Main Street on the north side of the road. The 1783 sketch in Cooper’s account shows the motte beside a stream, confirming this location of the site.[39] Griffith’s Valuation of 1854 confirmed this location with the existence of a lane ‘at the back of the moat’. The motte site was excavated in 1984. A medieval horse shoe, medieval and post-medieval pottery were uncovered.[40]

Hugh de Lacy established a town at his manor of Duleek. Influencing the choice of the site were strategic factors such as the protection of communication routes, cultural continuity and economic concerns. The principal river valleys provided the easiest route ways and therefore Duleek could control the communication routes along and across the Nanny River. Duleek as an existing settlement and ecclesiastical foundations offered the opportunity for rapid adaptation, an actual successful site and continuity for the existing population.

The site at Duleek was adapted with the town being established to one side of existing ecclesiastical settlement strengthened militarily with the motte. Duleek had a defensive enclosure which could be adapted to protect the new town. The street pattern of the new town followed the lines of the monastic enclosure.[41] The street plan reflects the early ecclesiastical enclosure but there are also elements of a linear pattern. One of the features of a town is a planned street pattern. It is relatively easy to trace the Anglo-Norman influence to the layout of the street pattern of Duleek.  The town developed as a linear settlement .The main street ran between the remains of the St. Cianán’s monastery and its church and the cell of Llanthony on the west of the town and eastwards across the bridge or ford to the motte. The major streets of Main Street and Larrix Street were laid down outside the monastic enclosure. These routes may have already existed prior to the arrival of the Anglo-Normans while the narrow lanes which existed within the enclosure continued to exist but were not developed. The street layout of Duleek has largely remained unchanged from the Anglo-Norman period to the modern day.

A feature of an urban settlement is an urban constitution. In the twelfth century urban settlements throughout Europe were being granted legal status through charters. Charters provided towns with self government and town dwellers, burgesses, enjoyed free status with certain rights and entitlements. Hugh de Lacy possessed the right to issue charters to the towns which he had founded but there is no trace of any charter surviving, if any were issued. Duleek was granted a charter by Walter de Lacy, Hugh’s son.[42] This may have been a charter confirming rights which the burgesses already enjoyed either unofficially or under charters issued by Hugh de Lacy.[43] Mac Niocaill suggested that the grant of a charter was the end of a process rather than the beginning, arguing that burgesses might exist well before there was a borough or charter.[44] The town charter of Duleek was based on the laws of Breteuil.  The head of the corporation was the portrieve or provost and there is a mention of provosts in 1290.  Burgesses were granted specific building plots and a small amount of agricultural land outside the town.[45] The burgage plots of Duleek are mentioned in 1260 and 1287.[46]

The town commons to the north of the settlement were quite large but have survived to the modern day. The surviving town property is divided into two distinct areas by a wide pass. There are one hundred acres due north of the town and a smaller area, East or Off commons, to the north-east. Traditionally local people have the right to graze their livestock and geese on the commons.[47]

The river provided clean water and a power source for mills. In 1260 there were two mills recorded in the town – the great mill and the castle mill.[48] O’Keeffe suggested that the bridge over the Nanny was erected in the last quarter of the twelfth century. He also noted that the bridge contained arches which were in the Early Christian style which could date it a century or two earlier.[49]

The town also developed a market and fair. Markets required regulation and supervision and locating them at the castle gate ensured that any market tolls due to de Lacy was collected. Towns were established as speculative ventures, attracting traders and craftsmen, who paid burgage rent to de Lacy and provided an outlet for the produce of his lands. The market at Duleek may have been located on one of the Greens or on Main Street. A Market Street was recorded in 1366. In 1284 Theobald de Verdon was granted an annual fair for eight days, the vigil, the day and the morrow of St. Dunstan and the five following days (18-25 May) at his manor of Diveleck. At the same time and in the same grant he was granted a weekly market and fair at Adelck which has been interpreted also as Duleek. The weekly market was to be held on Friday and de Verdon was also granted an annual fair to be held on the eve, day, and morrow of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (14th September) and five days after.[50]

Duleek was a significant settlement as it was one of the staging points for King John’s visit in 1210. John’s trip to Ireland was motivated by the need to limit the power of the de Lacy’s and his visit to Duleek re-enforced his control of the de Lacy lands and castles.[51]

Following its importance in the twelfth century Duleek underwent 300 years of relative stagnation. The lack of a murage grant to construct town walls indicated Duleek’s reduction in status during the middle ages. Simms identified a continuous wall along the south of the town dividing the houses and their plots from the open fields but this wall had been removed by 2009. Bradley suggested that the importance of the Duleek declined after the arrival of the Anglo-Normans as it was effectively replaced by Drogheda. Long distance trade was important for the Anglo-Normans and the port of Drogheda eclipsed Duleek locally as an urban settlement.[52]

In the middle ages there were five different religious establishments in Duleek and the location of a number of them is unclear.

Following the arrival of the Anglo-Normans a leper hospital, St. Mary Magdalene, was established at Duleek. The earliest reference to the hospital is 1202. The hospital gave its name to the Maudlins bridge and income from the hospital property provided funding for the bridge’s repair in 1459. No trace of the hospital remains today but the site may be identified south of the river Nanny. A field to the south of the river and to the east of the Dublin road is now called the Maudlin field and is the likely site of the hospital. The Urban Archaeological Survey identified a field named the Hospital field.   There was a large enclosure on the south side of the Nanny river, not far from the bridge and now cut by the Drogheda-Ashbourne road which may have been the site of the hospital.[53]

Hugh de Lacy founded St. Michael’s priory or cell at Duleek making it a dependency of Llanthony Secunda, a family monastery in England. St. Michael’s grange is variously attributed to Hugh de Lacy and to his son, Walter. De Lacy introduced continental dedications with St. Michael being the patron saint rather than a native Irish saint. The level land between the Nanny and the monastery was granted to the grange. Locating the grange outside the town may indicate the density of settlement within the enclosure or may have been an attempt to ensure no town interference in the running of the grange.

Duleek cell became one of the richest religious establishments in Ireland, with only a few canons to supervise the great farming estates for the support of Llanthony.[54] Duleek was endowed with a large quantity of land by de Lacy. [55] Duleek was a farming grange and collection points for tithes and other produce which was sent to support the mother house in England. The monastery of Llanthony Secunda received not only the income for Duleek but also from the churches of St. Cianán’s, Duleek, St. Mary’s, Drogheda, Mullingar, Rathkenny and other establishments. No doubt these funds were channelled through the grange at Duleek. [56]

In 1381 an account of the grange buildings described the chapel of St. Michael, a hall or refectory, kitchen, dairy, stable, long room with a closet and a knight’s chamber over a cellar, pantry, larder, a small stable for the proctors horses, farm buildings and two gate-houses, There was an emphasis on the grain storage and processing. South of Abbey road in the grounds of Duleek house are the remains of a two gatehouses, part of a church and a number of earthworks. St. Michael’s grange is mis-named on the OS as the ruins of an abbey.  The archaeological remains today clearly differ from those described in 1381. The extant features differ from the 1381 description in that the surviving gates are orientated east-west while the gates on the 1381 description are orientated north-south . It would appear that the grange buildings were re-built in the fifteenth century. The lands of St. Michael’s extended to the north west and south east of the town and also included meadow land near the Nanny. Fourteen cottagers held lands next to the cemetery of the church of St. Patrick on the north side of the church of St. Cianán – probably along what is today Larrix Street.[57]

In 1387 Richard Chiriton successfully disputed the rights of Armagh to visit the house of St. Michael’s at Duleek claiming St. Michael’s was simply a grange of Llanthony. In 1409 Thomas Spencer explained to Archbishop Fleming that Duleek was simply a storehouse for Llanthony and not a monastery subject to Armagh.[58]

With Duleek acting as a source of income for the monastery of Llanthony funds were being transferred out of the district thereby restricting the amounts available for investment in development of the town. The lack of a resident lord of the manor or resident major land owner were also factors in the lack of development.

A component of the twelfth century reform of the Irish church was the introduction of parishes. There is a clear identification of the manor with the developing system of parishes and the manor centre was the customary site for a parochial church.[59] However in Duleek two parishes developed. Now named Duleek and Duleek Abbey, one covered the town and surrounding area while the other included the grange and its lands to the south of the town.

Prior to the arrival of the Anglo-Normans there was an existing Augustinian community, St. Mary’s, at Duleek. The monastery dedicated to St. Cianánwas re-organised and placed under the Augustinian order by the Murcad O Ceallaigh. This may have been an attempt to neutralise the area by giving it to the church and so prevent the expansion by Ua Cerbaill of Uriel.  While the monastery suffered damage in the raids of 1169 and 1171 the existing monastery was re-founded by Hugh de Lacy. The monastery at Duleek appears to have included both male and female religious. The nunnery of St. Mary’s, Duleek was confirmed to the abbey of Arroasian nuns of Clonard in 1195 by Pope Celestine III.[60] The nunnery relocated to Calliaghstown, Duleek and from there moved to Calliaghstown, Kilsharvan.  St. Mary’s appears to have been located on the site of the old monastery with St. Cianán’s church nearby and is marked as ‘Abbey site (in ruins)’ on OS maps. St. Mary’s abbey served as the parish church for Duleek. The ruins in the graveyard are the remains of this monastery. Parts of the arcade of the church may date to the 13th century but the south aisle and arcade date to the 15th century.[61] The bell tower was erected adjoining the round tower in the fifteenth century. This resulted in traces of the round tower remaining after it had fallen down.

Figure 9:  Duleek Abbey Church

From a drawing by George Petrie for Thomas Cromwell, Excursions in Ireland (London, 1820)

The cult of St. Cianán continued to flourish at Duleek with his church being impropriated to St. Michael’s grange.

Nearby St. Patrick’s church continued to have a separate existence. A new rector was appointed to the church of St. Patrick’s, Duleek, in 1407. In 1412 Archbishop Fleming granted an indulgence of forty days for those who contributed to the reparation of St. Patrick’s church of Duleek, which would indicate that the church was in a poor state of repair at the time.[62]

With the erection of a new tower for St. Mary’s priory, a new church for St. Patrick’s and new buildings for the grange of St. Michael’s during the fifteenth century Duleek must have undergone significant changes due to the construction and the resultant increase in employment. The Maudelynes bridge was re-built after 1459. A tomb chest dating to the late fifteenth century, dedicated to the Preston and Plunkett families stands in the ruins of the church in the graveyard.  The amount of construction taking place would seem to indicate quite prosperous conditions.

In 1205 Gilbert, the prior of Duleek, was appointed a judge by Pope Innocent III to adjudicate on where de Lacy’s body should be buried. The decision was announced at Duleek in 1205. Gilbert seems to have been a very active prior and significant person as his name features in many of the charters issued in the late twelfth and early thirteenth century. It is not clear for which establishment he was prior. In 1279 the cell of abbey of Duleek was given the right to elect an abbot, the office having been vacant for thirty years.[63]

In 1302  a return of the valuation of the parishes of Duleek provided that the temporalities of the house of St. Michael’s was worth 25s 4d, the church of Duleek with the chapel of Ballymachlethan, Thimal and Platin £30, the house of St. Mary’s 5 marks and the church of St. Mary’s 5 marks. There is no mention of St. Cianán’s church, perhaps it was the parish church.[64]  

The reformation arrived in Ireland in the sixteenth century. The dissolution of the monasteries took effect in Duleek in 1536 when the grange of St. Michael’s was dissolved and granted to Sir Thomas Cusack. St. Mary’s abbey too was dissolved  and the manor of Duleek granted to Henry Waring and then to the Moores of Drogheda. There appears to have been a number of churches, religious establishments and religious which owned property in Duleek. There was the cell of Duleek which belonged to the priory of Llanthony, St. Mary’s Abbey, the frankhouse, the Grange of Duleek, St. Kynnagh’s chapel and the parish church. St. Kynnagh’s church was in the ownership of St. Mary’s abbey. A chapel of St. Madoude is mentioned in the confiscated property but it is unclear if this is the Maudlins chapel.[65]

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin held a small portion of land in Duleek from the sixteenth century until the nineteenth century.[66] The Archbishop of Armagh also held a small plot of land at Duleek.[67]

St. Mary’s church became the parish church and was renovated in 1587 when the east window of church was erected by Sir John Bellew and his wife, Ismay Nugent.[68] A gargoyle in the tower could date to this reconstruction. The church continued to be important to the local noble families. Within its walls is the tomb of John, Lord Bellew, who was shot in the stomach at Aughrim in 1691 and an effigal tomb of Dr. James Cusack, bishop of Meath, who died in 1688.[69]

A new bridge over Nanny river was erected in 1587 by William Bathe and Jennet Dowdall. The bridge consisted of three arches and causeway with two arches and was built in two sections with the most southerly arch of causeway having wicker centring.[70] The portrieve of Duleek is mentioned in a document of 1584. In 1598 Duleeke was described as one of the market towns of county Meath.[71]

Figure 10:  Bathe wayside cross (Drawing by Ruth Brandt)

From: Peter Harbison, Guide to the National Monuments in the republic of Ireland (Dublin, 1970), p. 183.

The Bathe wayside cross, located on the green at the west end of town, was erected in 1601 by Jennet Dowdall, in memory of her husband, William Bathe of Athcarne Castle.[72] This cross may have served as a market cross.  A market cross served two purposes to provide a central focal point for the town and secondly to serve as a place where bargains struck at market could be sealed. It is not clear if the Bathe cross replaced an earlier wooden cross or if one of the high crosses in the church grounds had previously served as a place for sealing bargains. In her will Jennet Dowdall Bathe left lands for the foundation of two poor houses in Duleek, one for four men and one for three women. Dying in 1619 it is unclear if anything became of this bequest.[73]

Throughout the seventeenth century Duleek was in the centre of military activities in the region. In October 1601 Hugh O’Neill and his forces burned Duleek and its mill.[74] In November 1641 a battle took place at nearby Julianstown and in the following month Lord Gormanston, Lord Louth, Lord Neterville and other nobles of the Pale met at the church in Duleek in order to plan a rebellion in the area. Lord Gormanston issued an order to the Sheriff of Meath to assemble the principal inhabitants of the county at Duleek but the place of meeting was subsequently changed to Crufty Hill, just to the east of Duleek.[75] In 1649 Duleek was on the perimeter of the siege and attack on Drogheda by Cromwell and his Parliamentary army. It is not clear if Cromwell or any opposing armies passed through Duleek on the way to or from Drogheda.

The Cromwellian conquest of Ireland resulted in the lands of Ireland being surveyed. The 1654-56 Civil Survey recorded the presence in Duleek of over fifty houses and tenements, a church, a priory, a stone house called the ‘colledg’, a mill and two stone bridges. None of the principal landowners were resident in the parish.[76] In the restoration land settlement of the 1660s sixty five pieces of property were reserved in the town of Duleek for the 1649 officers. In Navan town there were fifty seven allocated and in Trim sixty.[77]

John Bellew was created Lord Duleek by James II. He does not seem to have taken part in the battle of the Boyne but was injured in the battle of Aughrim. As a result of a ‘shot to the belly’ he died in London in 1692. His body was returned to Duleek where it was interred in the graveyard with commemorated by a stone slab.[78]

In 1690 Duleek was crucial to the battle of the Boyne, if the town was captured it would choke off the intended line of Jacobite retreat. James used Duleek as a base and is said to have heard Mass in St. Mary’s church before riding to battle. The town of Duleek stood in a pass between marshy ground and was the bridging point on the river Nanny for the road to Dublin. The bridge could only accommodate six men abreast. As the Jacobite army withdrew Williamite horseman dogged the retreating army shooting with their carbines. James led the vanguard across the Nanny. The Jacobite force was ‘in Duleek Lane, enclosed with high banks, marching ten in rank’. In the East Commons a trench was excavated to slow down the pursuit and provide cover for the infantry. This was named the ‘Black Trench’ and survived to the twentieth century. The infantry dropped their guns and ran. The French cavalry fought a delaying action at the bridge of Duleek and a cannon was placed on Barr Hill to the south of the bridge to cover the retreat of the Irish.  Three quarters of the Jacobite army crossed the bridge at Duleek before the Williamite pincer movement was completed. William slept in his carriage at Duleek that night. His army made bonfires of guns and pikes which the retreating Irish had left behind.[79]

There is a strong local tradition of Huguenot settlement in Duleek although there is no documentary evidence. It is said that the Huguenots settled in Duleek prior to the battle of the Boyne. Spinning and weaving was introduced to the area. It is possible that Larrix Street  is derived from the French surnames of ‘la Rochell’ or Laroux. Rows of ten to twenty small houses were erected on each side of the narrow lane and on the Commons. Handlooms were constructed from local timber. At one stage up to 250 families were engaged in hand weaving. A considerable number of people in Duleek parish applied for the flax growers/spinning wheel subsidy in 1796. None of those who applied had Huguenot surnames. Prior to 1800 there were 150 looms in the neighbourhood of Duleek. Flax growing and the manufacture of cloth was a major cottage industry in the years up to the end of the Napoleonic wars. Weaving continued to be carried out in the area until the 1930s.[80]

‘The Big Tree’, the lime tree in the green in the middle of the village, is said to have been planted about 1700 by local Huguenots to commemorate the victory of William at the Battle of the Boyne. Two trees were planted, an ash and a lime to represent William and Mary but the ash tree died sometime after 1942. The lime tree is the oldest and largest lime tree currently growing in Ireland.[81]

Figure 11: SE view of Duleek Church 1783

From Cooper, An Eighteenth century antiquary: The sketches, notes and diaries of Austin Cooper 1759-1830

In the eighteenth century the grange of St. Michael was used as the site for the major house in the town – Duleek house. Tradition states that stones from the ruined monastery were used in the construction of the building. Duleek House was attributed to Richard Castle by the Knight of Glin and to the office of Richard Castle by Casey and Rowan. Erected about 1750 for Thomas Trotter, Duleek House is a detached three-bay three-storey over basement country house. It is attached to an earlier house to the rear dated to c.1700. Attached to the house are a range of stone built outbuildings. An entrance way from the Maudlin bridge was created with a gate lodge at the roadway. The gate lodge was known locally as ‘Savage’s Lodge’, after the family who inhabited it but the building is now demolished. This avenue is marked on the OS maps of 1836 and 1882.[82]

Figure 12: Duleek House

Photo courtesy of Irish Architectural Archives

The earlier house may date to the 1730s following the purchase of the site of the priory by Thomas Trotter of Dublin from the Marquis of Drogheda in 1729. Trotter was associated with the C. of I. church at Duleek as a statue of him stood in the porch. The statue is attributed to the Flemish sculptor, Peter Scheemakers.[83]

Figure 13: Judge Trotter statue

Photo courtesy of Irish Architectural Archives

The Ram family held the parliamentary seat of Duleek from the seventeenth century until late in the eighteenth century. Andrew Ram was portrieve in the reign of James II and MP for Duleek from 1692 to 1698. The corporation seems to have functioned solely to elect a member of parliament. In 1783 there were less than thirteen burgesses none of whom resided in Duleek or even in the county of Meath.[84]

Abel Ram of Ramsfort and Clonattin was the patron of the borough in the early eighteenth century. Thomas Trotter married Rebecca Ram, daughter of Abel Ram, on 15 October 1710. Thomas Trotter, MP for Duleek 1715-27, died in 1745 and was succeeded by his son, Stephen, who died 1764. Stephen’s son, Thomas, died in 1802 and his daughter and heiress married William O’Brien, second Marquess of Thomond.

William, the second Marquis of Thomond, died in 1846 leaving four daughters and so his nephew, James, succeeded to the title and ownership of Duleek.  He died in 1855, without surviving male issue, and on his death the Marquisate of Thomond and Earldom of Inchiquin became extinct.

Treasury official and major property developer, Nathaniel Clements, was MP for Duleek from 1727 to 1760. He purchased the seat from the Ram family. Although MP for the borough for thirty three years he seems to have not taken an active interest in the town. In 1744 Henry Maule, bishop of Meath, wrote to him seeking support for the purchase of a bell, there being a ‘very decent church’ and ‘an arch or belfry to put it up’.[85] 

Small scale development continued with a detached four-bay two storey house  erected on Main Street about 1780. In 1788 the R.C. bishop of Meath Dr. Plunket found three schools and one chapel, newly built, when he visited the town. A parochial house was erected in 1795.[86]

Bradley suggested that due to improved communications in the late seventeenth and eighteenth century that Drogheda began to take over Duleek’s market functions.[87] Without outside stimulus and outside investment Duleek underwent very little change. In 1783 Duleek was described as ‘a poor disagreeable town’ while three years later it was described as an ‘almost deserted village’.[88] Thirty years later in 1820 Duleek was described as a ‘decayed town’ by a visiting tourist.[89] Despite the lack of development population increased with the number of inhabitants in Duleek parish increasing from 1600 in 1733 to 3700 in 1821.[90]

From the early 19th century major improvements began to be made in Duleek. With an improvement in economic conditions and an emerging political middle class the construction of schools, churches and public buildings began.

The Bathe wayside cross was repaired in 1810 and perhaps it was at this time that the cross was erected on the plinth.

Figure 14: St. Cianan’s church drawn by Olive Sharkey

From Curran, History of the diocese of Meath, vol. i, p. 385.

Duleek was a centre of population and with the relaxation of the penal laws, the Roman Catholic community erected a church in the town. The church was erected in the centre of the village in a very prominent position for a community which still did not enjoy full freedom. St. Cianan’s R.C. church was erected in 1812 by Rev. John Kearney P.P. The five-bay gabled hall of coursed limestone was enlarged and re-modelled in 1840 and again in 1870.[91]

The Church of Ireland too was going through a revival. Duleek union of parishes was created in 1816 and this may have been the spur for the erection of a new church.[92] The new church was constructed using funds from the Board of First Fruits. The church, a box-like hall and three storey western tower type, is typical Board of First Fruits architecture.[93] The church was erected near the old church within the ancient monastic site.

Public buildings such as schools, a police station, a dispensary and courthouse were erected. In 1822 the Constabulary Act was passed for Ireland and by 1827 there were one constable and seven sub-constables in Duleek. In 1824 a school house was in the process of being built. By 1826 two substantial schools had been constructed, each valued at £70. Both the Protestant school and Roman Catholic school were constructed of stone and slated.  The court house was erected in 1838 as session house for Meath Grand Jury by John Trotter at a cost of £853. The design is similar to Dunshaughlin courthouse which was designed by Francis Johnson.[94] A dispensary for the area was established in 1831.[95]

George IV visited nearby Annesbrook in 1821. In honour of the king’s visit a new portico and dining room were added to the house but the king on his visit did not enter the building. W.M. Thackery, who visited Duleek in 1842, was struck by the ‘Englishness’ of Duleek with its village green and the surrounding countryside.[96]

Improved communications such as the construction of the Drogheda-Dublin coachroad also contributed to changes in Duleek.  The coach-horses were changed at the Coach house at the bottom of Barr Hill. The turnpike road which developed from 1819 onwards was promoted as a route to Drogheda from Dublin. The route for this coachroad by-passed the town with a new road and bridge being constructed south of the town. There were three routes to Drogheda from Dublin, one via the Naul, the second via Lusk and Balbriggan onto Dunleer and the third via Ashbourne and Duleek. The distance from Dublin to Drogheda was twenty three and a half Irish miles by both the Dublin-Dunleer turnpike road and by the Ashbourne road. However milestones were altered to make it appear that Drogheda was only 22 miles by Ashbourne route.[97] From the 1830s a post office for Duleek operated from the Coach house or ‘The Buildings’ on the Ashbourne-Drogheda road.[98]

Fruit growing in Duleek began in 1816. Raspberries and other soft fruits were produced in the Larrix Street-Kingsgate area. Fruit production continues to the present day. A major new mill was constructed in the town by Owen Behan and Pat Holland in 1828.[99]

The 1835 municipal report resulted in Duleek losing its status and rights as a town. [100]

The Commons of Duleek were town property for the use of the people who lived in the town. In the late eighteenth century Duleek had ‘a very large commonage’. The townland of the Commons amounts to 1050 acres in total, including 81 acres of the town of Duleek. In 1835 the Commons of Duleek and Gaskinstown amounted to 200 acres but had previously extended to 300 acres. Every third year a man with a flag rode round the commons boundaries. This ceremony was known as ‘fringing the commons’. By 1835 Gaskinstown Commons, approximately 40 acres, had been enclosed by ‘poor persons’, after dividing it amongst themselves in small lots. The Commons of Duleek was gradually encroached upon by the poor who erected small one roomed thatched cabins. There were attempts to preserve the commons by policing the boundaries but without an active corporation or effective owner to defend ownership these attempts were of limited success, with an increase in the number of poor squatters moving onto common lands. The landless and destitute huddled together. Not being restricted by control of landowners cabins were generally erected along the lanes of the common in an unplanned manner. The number of houses in the Commons rose from 63 in 1841 to 174 in 1851 while the population rose from 327 to 807 in the same period. By the time of Griffiths Valuation in 1855 there were more than 130 houses on sites of less than half an acre with eighty eight houses having just the site of the house alone. Such was the population density that the map makers could not depict the small houses on the valuation maps. The greater part of the Commons was not enclosed and survived to the present day. [101]

Figure 15: View of Duleek 1849

From William Wilde Beauties of Boyne and Blackwater

The population of Duleek fell from 1158 in 1841 to 200 in 1861, a fall in excess of 80% in the twenty year period following the famine. While there were increases in 1871 and 1881 the population of the town remained below 500 until 1971.

The second half of the nineteenth century was marked by the arrival of the railways in 1850 and a decline in trade. The railway line connecting Drogheda to Navan passed a mile to the north of Duleek with a station to serve the town being erected in the townland of Newtown. This was the only railway route from Navan to Dublin until a more direct route was laid in 1862.[102] Despite the better communication routes developed by the toll roads and the railways Duleek never developed any major industry and Duleek was too small to have a branch of a bank.

In the late nineteenth century trade in the town was limited. The directories for 1870, 1881 and 1894 repeated that the town had ‘fallen into decay’ and ‘very little trade now exists’. They also state that the market had fallen into disuse and the fairs held on 25 March, 3 May, 24 June and 18 October were little more than nominal. Even though trade might have appeared to be nominal to the directory compilers the fairs did manage to survive from before 1870 and continue after 1894.[103]

The parochial house was re-constructed in the 1850s and stables and out offices added at the back of the house in 1898. A new bridge was erected and the River Nanny drained in the 1880s. A terraced five-bay two storey house was erected c. 1890 on Main Street.[104]

Public meeting took place at the Bathe Cross or at the Orator’s stone in village green. Public meetings were addressed by Fr. Mathew, the apostle of temperance, Frederick Lucas M.P. and C.S. Parnell.

Minor developments took place in the first half of the twentieth century. In 1905 a new dispensary was erected at Prioryland, on the Ashbourne road.[105] A foot bridge was erected over Moate River at Moate Lane in 1912. Four sycamore trees were planted on the Green about 1910.[106]

The rural area to the north of the town was subject to bombing by a German war plane during World War II. About ten incendiary bombs were dropped on the morning of 1 January 1941.[107]

Flooding of the low lying areas near the Nanny created difficulties for residents in particular for the Mill Race estate which was flooded on a regular basis. Remedial works included the erection of a new bridge over the Nanny and the construction of earthen banks to contain the flooding.[108]

Following the introduction of free travel and free secondary education there was an increased numbers of students at second level schools. In 1977 Meath TD Brendan Crinion asked if there was a need for a post-primary school in Duleek to serve that area of the county.[109]

St. Keenan’s C. of I. church closed in 1967 and the parish amalgamated with St. Mary’s, Drogheda. The church building was sold in 1999 and re-opened as restaurant aptly named ‘The Spire’ in 2004. The statue of Judge Trotter was restored and removed to the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland, Blackhall Place, Dublin.[110]

St. Cianan’s R.C. church was repaired and extended in 1969. A gallery was added to cope with increased congregations.[111] In 1989 a ceremony was held to mark the 1500th anniversary of the death of St. Cianán and the foundation of Duleek. A cross to mark the event was erected outside the church.

From the 1970s Duleek began to serve as a dormitory town for Drogheda as well as continuing its role as a local services centre for the surrounding countryside. In the following decades the town also began to serve as a dormitory town for Dublin with easy access provided by the N1 and N2 routes. Ribbon development along main access routes has been restrained with recent housing developments being focused to the north of the historic core of the town and on the Navan Road with commercial development of a business services park at the east end of the town.  The development of this business park has resulted in the re-alignment of the road from the town to the Drogheda-Ashbourne route. Areas of the town on Main Street and Colgan Street benefited from the Town Renewal scheme of 2000. A new lane off Main Street was developed. Population grew from 1731 in 1996 to 3236 in 2006, over three times the level of population growth which occurred in the State during the time period and higher that the level of population growth for County Meath. A growth rate of 49% was recorded in the years between 2002 and 2006. Meath County Council is planning a route for a bye-pass for the town.[112]

When the courthouse closed in 1961 the building was converted to house the local library and offices of Meath County Council. A new area office labelled a One Stop Shop was constructed on Main Street. Included in the new development were the area offices, a meeting room, a new branch library and the Toradh Art Gallery.

General abbreviations

AFM                         Annála ríoghachta Éireann: Annals of the kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters, from the earliest period to the year 1616. Ed. John O’Donovan. 7 vols. Dublin, 1851.

Archdall                   Archdall, Mervyn.  Monasticum Hibernicum. 3 vols, London, 1786.

AU 1,2.                     (1) Annála Uladh…  :a chronicle of Irish affairs, 431 to 1541. Ed. W.M. Hennessy and Bartholomew MacCarthy. 4 vols. 2nd edn. Dublin, 1998.

(2) The Annals of Ulster (to A.D. 1131), pt 1, Text and translation. Ed. Seán Mac Airt and Gearóid Mac Niocaill. Dublin, 1983.

Cal. doc. Ire.            Calendar of documents relating to Ireland, 1171-1251 [etc.]. 5 vols. London, 1875-86.

Cal. pat. rolls Ire.     Calendar of the patent and close rolls of the chancery in Ireland. 3 vols. Dublin, 1861-3.

Cal. S. P. Ire.           Calendar of the state papers relating to Ireland, 1509-73 [etc.]. 24 vols. London, 1860-1910.

Census, 1659            A census of Ireland circa 1659. Ed. Séamus Pender. IMC, Dublin, 1939.

Census, 1821 [etc.]  Printed census reports (for full references see W.E. Vaughan and A.J. Fitzpatrick, Irish historical statistics 1821-1971 Dublin, 1978, pp 355-61.)

Census returns, 1901 [etc.]

                                 Unpublished census returns, NAI.

C. of I.                     Church of Ireland

CS                            The civil survey, A.D. 1654-56. Ed. R.C. Simington. 10 vols. IMC. Dublin, 1931-61.

Education repts        Reports from the commissioners of the board of education of Ireland. HC 1813 (47) v.

Extents                      Extents of Irish monastic possessions 1540-1541. Ed. Newport B. White. Dublin, 1943.

Fiants                       ‘Calendar of fiants of Henry VIII… Elizabeth’. In PRI repts D.K. 7-22. Dublin, 1875-90. Reprinted as The Irish fiants of the Tudor sovereigns … . 4 vols. Dublin, 1994.

Gwynn and Hadcock        Gwynn, Aubrey and Hadcock, R.N. Medieval religious houses: Ireland. London, 1970.

HC                           House of commons sessional paper.

IAA                          Irish Architectural Archives, Dublin.

IHS                           Irish Historical Studies

IMC                         Irish Manuscript Commission

Ir. Builder                 The Irish Builder and Engineer. Dublin, 1867-. Formerly The Dublin Builder. Dublin, 1859-66.

Lewis                        Lewis, Samuel. A topographical dictionary of Ireland. 2 vols with atlas. London, 1837.

Mun. corp. Ire. rept. Municipal corporations (Ireland) appendices to the first report of the commissioners. HC 1835, xxvii, xxviii.

NAI                          National Archives of Ireland, Dublin.

NLI                          National Library of Ireland, Dublin.

Parl. gaz.                  The parliamentary gazateer of Ireland. 3 vols. London, 1846.

Pigot                         Pigot’s national commercial directory of Ireland. Dublin, 1824.

Publ. instr. rept 1     First report of the commissioners on public instruction, Ireland. HC 1835 [45, 46], xxxiii.

Publ. instr. rept 2     Second report of the commissioners on public instruction, Ireland. HC 1835 [47], xxxiv.

R.C.                          Roman Catholic.

RIA/ RIA Proc.        Royal Irish Academy, Dublin. (Proceedings of.) Dublin, 1836-.

RSAI Jn.                   Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. Dublin, 1850-.

Slater                        Slater’s national commercial directory of Ireland. Manchester, 1846, etc.

Taylor and Skinner   Taylor, George and Skinner, Andrew. Maps of the roads of Ireland, surveyed in 1777. London and Dublin, 1778.

TCD                         Trinity College, Dublin.

Urb. Arch. Survey    Urban Archaeology Survey, Office of the Public Works.

Val.                          Records relating to valuation.

[1] William Wilde, The beauties of the Boyne and its tributary, the Blackwater (Dublin, 1849), p. 270.

[2] Meath County Council, Preparation for a local area plan for Duleek (Navan, 2008)

[3] J.H. Andrews, ‘A Geographer’s view of Irish history’ in T.W. Moody and F.X. Martin The course of Irish history (Cork, 1967), pp 19-21.

[4] Anthony Cogan, The diocese of Meath: Ancient and modern (Dublin, 1862), i, p.135.

[5] Ludwig Bieler, The Patrician texts in the Book of Armagh (Dublin, 1979), pp 131, 147.

[6],  2002:1450 (viewed 14 February 2009)

[7] Enda O’Boyle, A history of Duleek (Duleek, 1989), pp 1-4.

[8] Michael Moore, Archaeological inventory of County Meath (Dublin, 1997), p. 126.

[9] Charles Doherty, ‘The monastic town in early medieval Ireland’ in H. B. Clarke and Anngret Simms (eds) The comparative history of urban origins in non-Roman Europe: Ireland, Wales, Denmark, Germany, Poland and Russia from the ninth to the thirteenth century (Oxford 1985), p. 47; O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, pp 5-6; John Bradley, ‘St. Patrick’s church, Duleek’ in Ríocht na Mídhe (1980-1), p. 48.

[10] AU, sub 489; Bieler, The Patrician texts in the Book of Armagh, pp 131, 147; Cogan, The diocese of Meath: Ancient and modern, i, pp 22-3; AFM, sub 488; Annals of Tigernach (ed.) Whitley Stokes, Revue Celtique 16-18 (1895-1897), (repr. 2 vols, Felinfach 1993), sub 490; Doherty, ‘The monastic town in early medieval Ireland’, pp 53-4;  Phillip Cuffe, ‘History of Duleek’ in Ríocht na Midhe (1965), pp 188-92.

[11] Whitley Stokes (ed.) Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee (London, 1905), pp 244-5.

[12] O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, pp 11-12; Cuffe, ‘History of Duleek’, p. 192. Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee, p. 245. 

[13] Irish cartularies of Llanthony Prima and Secunda (ed.) E. St. John Brooks (Dublin, 1953), p. 295; Arlene Hogan, The priory of Llanthony Prima and Secunda in Ireland, 1172-1541: Land patronage and politics (Dublin, 2008), p. 351.

[14] Paul Byrne, ‘Ciannachta Breg before Síl nÁeda Sláine’ in Alfred P. Smyth, (ed.), Seanchas : studies in early and medieval Irish archaeology, history and literature in honour of Francis J. Byrne (Dublin, 2000), pp 121-6.

[15] H.S. Crawford, ‘The early crosses of east and west Meath’ in JRSAI (1926), pp 3-9.

[16] George Lennox Barrow, The round towers of Ireland, a study and gazetteer (Dublin, 1979), pp 169-70.

[17] Christine Casey and Alistair Rowan, The buildings of Ireland: North Leinster (London, 1993), p. 252; Moore, Archaeological inventory of County Meath, p. 132; John Bradley, ‘Archaeological remains of the Llanthony granges at Duleek and Colp’ in John Bradley (ed) Settlement and society in medieval Ireland (Kilkenny, 1988), pp 317-8.

[18] Frank Mitchell and Michael Ryan, Reading the Irish landscape (Dublin, 2001), p. 291.;,  1993:180, 1997:421, 2004:1227, 1999:681 (viewed 14 February 2009); D. Leo Swan, ‘Early monastic sites’ in  Michael Ryan (ed.) The Illustrated Archaeology of Ireland (Dublin, 1991), pp 137-9.

[19] Leo Swan, ‘Monastic proto-towns in early medieval Ireland: The evidence of aerial photography, plan analysis and survey’ in H. B. Clarke and Anngret Simms (eds)  The comparative history of urban origins in non-Roman Europe: Ireland, Wales, Denmark, Germany, Poland and Russia from the ninth to the thirteenth century (Oxford 1985),  i, p. 80; D.L. Swan, ‘Duleek, an early Christian site’ in Annals of Duleek (1973), pp 12-20.

[20] Swan, ‘Monastic proto-towns in early medieval Ireland: The evidence of aerial photography, plan analysis and survey’, pp 97-9.

[21] Mark Clinton, ‘Souterrains in potential association with church sites in county Meath’ in Tom Condit and Christiaan Corlett (eds) Above and beyond::essays in memory of Leo Swan (Bray, 2005), pp 149-69 ; Moore, Archaeological inventory of County Meath, pp 50, 51.

[22] AU, 489, 789, 872, 907, 920, 929, AFM, 784, 961; Kathleen Hughes, The church in early Irish society (London, 1966), pp 162-3; O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, p. 11.

[23] AFM, 955, 984, 1045, 1093; Kathleen Hughes, ‘The office of S. Finnian of  Clonard and S. Cianán of Duleek’ in Church and Society in Ireland, A.D. 400-1200 (London, 1987), p. 355.

[24] AU, 754; AFM, 749.

[25] AU, sub 688; O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, pp 6-7; Bradley, ‘St. Patrick’s church, Duleek’, pp 40-51; Irish cartularies of Llanthony Prima and Secunda, pp 222, 292, 293.

[26] AFM, 927.

[27] AU, 832, 881;

[28] Cogadh Gaedhel re Gallabh (ed.) James Henthorn Todd (London, 1867), pp clxxxix, 203.

[29] John Brady, ‘The origin and growth of the diocese of Meath’ in The Irish Ecclesiastical Record (1949), pp 2-11, 169; R.R. Callery, ‘The territory of ancient Meath’ in Ríocht na Midhe (1955), p. 8; Cogan, The diocese of Meath: Ancient and modern, i, p. 69.

[30] AFM, 1117, 1160; AU, 1117.

[31] John Brady, ‘Anglo-Norman organization: Meath diocese’ in The Irish Ecclesiastical Record (Jan-June 1946), p. 235; Register of the abbey of St. Thomas, Dublin (ed.) John T. Gilbert (London, 1889), pp 71-2.

[32] Samuel Lewis, A topographical dictionary of Ireland (London, 1837); Cogan, The diocese of Meath: Ancient and modern, i, p. 135, Aubrey Gwynn and R.N. Hadcock, Medieval religious houses: Ireland. (London, 1970), p.173; Brady, ‘Origin and growth of the diocese of Meath’, pp 10-11.

[33] AFM, 1147.

[34] AFM, 1023, 1055, 1070, 1123, 1149.

[35] AFM, 1169; AU, 1169.

[36] AFM, 1171.

[37] Song,  ll 3228-9.

[38] Giraldus Cambrensis, Expugnatio Hibernica: The Conquest of Ireland (eds) A.B. Scott and F.X. Martin (Dublin, 1978), pp 139-41; Orpen, Goddard H. (ed.) The song of Dermot and the Earl (Oxford, 1892), ll 3232-341; Richard Butler, Some notices of the castle and of the ecclesiastical buildings of Trim (Trim, 1854),  pp 7-8.

[39] Goddard H. Orpen, ‘Motes and Norman castles in Ireland’ in The English historical review, xxii, (Apr. 1907), p. 234; Anngret Simms,. ‘Settlement patterns and medieval colonization in Ireland: the example of Duleek in county Meath’ in Pierre Flatres (ed.)  Paysage ruraux Europeens (Rennes, 1979),  p. 161; O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, pp 26-7.

[40] Moore, Archaeological inventory of County Meath, p. 157;,  1980-84:0148 (viewed 14 February 2009)

[41] Swan, ‘Monastic proto-towns in early medieval Ireland: The evidence of aerial photography, plan analysis and survey’, pp 77-8, 84-6, 99.

[42] John Bradley, ‘The medieval boroughs of County Dublin’ in Conleth Manning (ed.) Dublin and Beyond the Pale (Bray, 1998), p. 129.

[43] Reports from commissioners appointed to inquire into corporations, Ireland, first report, supplement and appendix,, xxvii, pp 173, 181, 265;  Wood, ‘The muniments of Edmund de Mortimer, third earl of March concerning his liberty of Trim’, pp 312-3; Mary Bateson ‘The Laws of Breteuil’ in The English Historical Review (1900),  p. 311; Anngret Simms, ‘Kells’ in Anngret Simms and J.H. Andrews (eds) Irish country towns (Cork, 1994), p. 25.

[44] Gearóid Mac Niocaill, ‘The colonial town in Irish documents’ in H.B Clarke and Anngret Simms (eds) The comparative history of urban origins in non-Roman Europe: Ireland, Wales, Denmark, Germany, Poland and Russia from the ninth to the thirteenth century (Oxford, 1985), ii, p. 374.

[45] Calendar to Christchurch deeds (Dublin, 1896), p 88; Bateson ‘The Laws of Breteuil’,  pp 73-8, 302-18, 496-523, 754-7; (1901), pp 92-110, 332-45; Adolphus Ballard, ‘The Law of Breteuil’ in The English Historical Review (1915), pp 646-58.

[46] Irish cartularies of Llanthony Prima and Secunda, pp 228, 230.

[47] Stepping stones to Duleek’s Past. Duleek Heritage Trail (Navan, 1999)

[48] Irish cartularies of Llanthony Prima and Secunda,  p. 222; The priory of Llanthony Prima and Secunda in Ireland, p. 223

[49] Peter O’Keeffe and T. Simmington, Irish stone bridges: History and heritage (Dublin, 1991), p. 114; O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, p. 28; Peter O’Keeffe, The Dublin to Navan road and Kilcarn bridge (Kilcarn, 1994), p. 21.

[50] Cal. doc.  Ire.;  Mun. corp. Ire. rept.; O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, p. 29.

[51] John Bradley, The medieval towns of county Meath’ in Ríocht na Midhe (1988-9), pp 30-3; Reports from commissioners appointed to inquire into corporations, Ireland, first report, supplement and appendix, H.C. 1835, xxvii, p. 173; Enda O’Boyle, A history of Duleek (Duleek, 1989) pp 25-6.

[52] Simms,. ‘Settlement patterns and medieval colonization in Ireland: the example of Duleek in county Meath’, p. 161;  Bradley, The medieval towns of county Meath’ , p. 33.

[53] Irish cartularies of Llanthony Prima and Secunda,  p. 213; The priory of Llanthony Prima and Secunda in Ireland, p. 252;  Cogan, The diocese of Meath: Ancient and modern, i, p. 186; Aubrey Gwynn and R.N. Hadcock, Medieval religious houses: Ireland. (London, 1970), p. 350; Moore, Archaeological inventory of County Meath, p. 126; O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, p. 28.

[54] The Irish cartularies of Llanthony Prima and Secunda, p. 213; Gwynn and Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses Ireland, pp 173, 349; Cogan, The diocese of Meath: Ancient and modern,  i, pp 37, 185; The priory of Llanthony Prima and Secunda in Ireland, pp 118-9, 248, 260-1; Anngret Simms, ‘The geography of Irish manors; the example of the Llanthony cells of Duleek and Colp in county Meath’ in John Bradley (ed.) Settlement and society in medieval Ireland – Studies presented to F.X. Martin o.s.a. (Kilkenny, 1988), pp 291-315; John Bradley, ‘Archaeological remains of the Llanthony granges at Duleek and Colp’ in John Bradley (ed.) Settlement and society in Medieval Ireland: Studies presented to F.X. Martin o.s.a. (Kilkenny, 1988),  pp 316-26.

[55] Cogan, The diocese of Meath: Ancient and modern, i, pp 185-6.

[56] The priory of Llanthony Prima and Secunda in Ireland, pp 45-6.

[57] Bradley, ‘Archaeological remains of the Llanthony granges at Duleek and Colp’, pp 319-21; Moore, Archaeological inventory of County Meath, p. 127; Irish cartularies of Llanthony Prima and Secunda, p. 290; The priory of Llanthony Prima and Secunda in Ireland, p. 348.

[58] Irish cartularies of Llanthony Prima and Secunda, pp 281-6; The priory of Llanthony Prima and Secunda in Ireland, pp 366-8; H.J. Lawlor (ed.) ‘A calendar of the register of Archbishop Fleming’ in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, xxxx, (1912-3), p. 131.      

[59] A.J. Otway-Ruthven, ‘Parochial development in the rural deanery of Skreen’, in JRSAI, xciv, (1964), p. 111-22; Anngret Simms, ‘Continuity and change: Settlement and society in medieval Ireland c. 500-1500’ in William Nolan (ed.) The shaping of Ireland: The geographical perspective (Cork, 1986), p. 58.

[60] Gwynn and Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses Ireland, p. 173.;

[61] Casey and Rowan, The buildings of Ireland: North Leinster,  pp 252-3, Moore, Archaeological inventory of County Meath, p. 132; Bradley, ‘Archaeological remains of the Llanthony granges at Duleek and Colp’, pp 321-3.

[62] Lawlor ‘A calendar of the register of Archbishop Fleming’, pp 111, 151.

[63] Register of the abbey of St. Thomas, Dublin, pp 348-50; Orpen, ii, p. 70; Chartul. St. Mary’s, Dublin, i, pp. 156-57; Cogan, The diocese of Meath: Ancient and modern, i, p. 71, Mervyn Archdall, Monasticon Hibernicum  (Dublin, 1873), vol iii, p 535.

[64] John Healy, History of the diocese of Meath, (Dublin, 1908), i, p. 121.

[65] Extents of Irish monastic possessions 1540-1541 (ed.) Newport B. White (Dublin, 1943), pp 105, 120, 314-8; Cogan, The diocese of Meath: Ancient and modern, i, p.135.

[66] Extents of Irish monastic possessions, p. 279; The civil survey, A.D. 1654-56. Ed. R.C. Simington. vol. v, (Dublin, 1940), p. 16.

[67] The civil survey, p. 16.

[68] Cogan, The diocese of Meath: Ancient and modern, ii, p. 232.

[69] Casey and Rowan, The buildings of Ireland: North Leinster, p. 253; Bradley, ‘Archaeological remains of the Llanthony granges at Duleek and Colp’, p. 323.

[70] Moore, Archaeological inventory of County Meath, p. 182.

[71] John D’Alton, The history of Drogheda (Dublin, 1844), ii, p. 202; Edmund Hogan, A Description of Ireland in 1598 (Dublin 1876), p. 91.

[72] Cogan, The diocese of Meath: Ancient and modern, i, pp 186-7; Heather A. King, ‘Late medieval crosses in county Meath’ in PRIA section c, vol 84, (1984), pp 107-8; Anon. ’Report of the excursion to Duleek and other places in the neighbourhood’ in JRSAI  (1916), p. 202.

[73] Cogan, The diocese of Meath: Ancient and modern, i, p. 186; O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, p. 43.

[74] Cal. S. P. Ire., vol. 10, p. 133; Laurence P. Murray, ‘Before Kinsale – and after’ in Journal of the county Louth archaeological society (1915), p. 334.

[75] 1641 depostions, Examination of Christopher Hampton, 11 December 1641 (TCD, MS 809, f. 212)

[76] The civil survey, p. 16.

[77] Kevin McKenny, ‘Charles II’s Irish cavaliers: The 1649 officers and the restoration land settlement’ in IHS xxviii (1993), p. 421.

[78] O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, p. 32.

[79] Journal of the Very Rev. Rowland Davies LD Dean of Ross from March 8, 1688-9 to September 29 1690 (ed.) Richard Caulfield (London, 1857), pp 123-5; A Jacobite narrative of the war in Ireland, 1688-1691 (ed.) John Thomas Gilbert (Shannon, 1971), pp 102-3;  George Storey, An impartial history of the affairs of Ireland during the two last years (London, 1691), pp 84-85, 89; Lewis, A topographical dictionary of Ireland i,  p. 565; Paddy Sampson, ‘Duleek (Here and there since 1690)’ in Ríocht na Midhe (1960), p.58; Richard Doherty, The Williamite War in Ireland, 1688-1691 (Dublin, 1998), pp 121-2; D’Alton, The history of Drogheda, ii, p. 461; Geraldine Stout, Newgrange and the Bend of the Boyne (Cork, 2002), p. 120; O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, pp 37-9.

[80] The Pilot, 26 April 1843; Paul Connell, The rise and fall of the repeal movement’ in Ríocht na Mídhe (1982-3), p. 100; O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, pp 47-8, 62; Duleek Heritage, The parish of Duleek and “Over the ditches” (Duleek, 2001), pp 178-9; Donal Synott, ‘Larrix Street’ in Annals of Duleek (1973), p. 20; Stepping stones to Duleek’s Past.

[81] Stepping stones to Duleek’s Past; O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, p. 48; Irish Tourist Association. Topographical and general survey 1942.

[82] The Knight of Glin, ‘Richard Castle, architect, his biography and works’ in BIGS 7, no. 1 (Jan-Mar 1964), pp 32-8; County Development Plan 2007-2013 Meath County Council Protected Structures List; Casey and Rowan, The buildings of Ireland: North Leinster, pp 254-5; Seamus Ua Taillamhain, ‘Duleek and its environs’ in the Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society (1910), p. 258; Mark Bence-Jones, A guide to Irish country houses (London, 1988),  p. 113; The parish of Duleek, p. 92.

[83] Casey and Rowan, The buildings of Ireland: North Leinster, p. 254.

[84] Mun. corp. Ire. Rept;  Edith Mary Johnston-Liik, History of the Irish parliament 1692-1800 (Belfast, 2002), ii, p. 303; O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, p. 25.

[85] A.P.W. Malcomson, Nathaniel Clements: Government and the governing elite in Ireland 1725-75 (Dublin, 2005), p. 310.

[86] Cogan, The diocese of Meath: Ancient and modern, ii, p. 208; Stepping stones to Duleek’s Past..

[87] John Bradley, Urban archaeology survey, part ii, county Meath (unpublished, Meath county library) p. 40.

[88] Austin Cooper, An Eighteenth century antiquary: The sketches, notes and diaries of Austin Cooper 1759-1830 (ed.) Liam Price (Dublin, 1942);  Archdall, Monasticum Hibernicum, p. 533; O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, p. 65

[89] Thomas Cromwell, Excursions through Ireland (London, 1820), vol. ii, p. 64

[90] Peter Connell, The Land and People of County Meath, 1750-1850 (Dublin, 2004), p. 61.

[91] Casey and Rowan, The buildings of Ireland: North Leinster, p. 254; Cogan, The diocese of Meath: Ancient and modern, ii, p. 234.

[92] Report of His Majesty’s Commissioners of Ecclesiastical Inquiry, Ireland HC 1831 (93); Lewis, A topographical dictionary of Ireland.

[93] Casey and Rowan, The buildings of Ireland: North Leinster, p. 254.

[94] Co. Meath Grand Jury Presentments, summer 1838. Meath County Library, Navan; Casey and Rowan, The buildings of Ireland: North Leinster, p. 254.

[95] O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, p. 64.

[96] O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, p. 77; The parish of Duleek, p. 246; William Makepeace Thackeray, The Irish sketch-book 1842  (London, 1857), p. 280.

[97] David Broderick, An early toll-road: The Dublin-Dunleer turnpike, 1731-1855 (Dublin, 1996), pp 48-50; The parish of Duleek, pp 17-8.

[98] Stepping stones to Duleek’s Past;

[99] Stepping stones to Duleek’s Past;; The parish of Duleek, pp 172-5.

[100] Mun. corp. Ire. Rept.

[101] O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, p. 65; Mun. corp. Ire. rept; J.H. Andrews, ‘The struggle for Ireland’s public commons’ in Patrick O’Flanagan, Paul Ferguson and Kevin Whelan (eds) Rural Ireland 1600-1900 : Modernisation and change (Cork, 1987), pp 6, 9;  Valuation of Tenements  (1854), pp 151-7.

[102] The parish of Duleek, pp 182-3.

[103] Slater’s directory, 1870; 1881; 1894,  sub. Duleek.

[104] Stepping stones to Duleek’s Past;

[105] Ir. Builder xxxxvii, 15 July 1905, p.  494.

[106] The parish of Duleek, pp 75, 163.

[107] O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, p. 95.

[108] Irish Times, 27 August 1986; O’Keeffe and Simmington, Irish stone bridges: History and heritage, p. 112, The parish of Duleek, pp10-13; O’Boyle, A history of Duleek, pp 97-8.

[109] Dáil Éireann deb., 24 May 1977.

[110] Casey and Rowan, The buildings of Ireland: North Leinster, p. 254.

[111] Stepping stones to Duleek’s Past.

[112] Meath County Council, Preparation for a local area plan for Duleek