The Parish and Church of Kilbride

In 1704 Rev. James Cormack, aged 48, resident in Philpotstown, was registered as parish priest of Moymet, Tullaghanogue, Clonmacduff and Kilcooly. He had been ordained by Saint Oliver Plunkett in 1674.

A rectangular chapel appears on Larkin’s map of Meath in 1812. It was succeeded by the present church in 1837. The church is dedicated to Our Lady under the title of Her Assumption. 

In 1837 Dr. Cantwell, Bishop of Meath, purchased a property in the townland of Moymet, to be used as a home for infirm and retired priests.  On 28th of May 1837, thirty-two acres of land were purchased from John, Lord Sherborne, for the sum of £840. To this Bishop Cantwell attached the parishes of Moymet and Tullaghanogue and the parish priest was also guardian of the institution. This building became known as the Priory. The Vincentians were asked to take over the Priory in 1861 but they had insufficient numbers. The Priory was closed in 1867. The house and lands were let and administered from Trim.

In early 1856 Rev. Christopher Newman was appointed parish priest of Moymet or Kilbride and guardian of the institution in that parish. The parish of Dunderry was vacant from March 1867 and when Fr. Newman died the two parishes were united in 1872.

A belfry was erected by Fr. Blake in 1877 and the altar donated by Fr. James Kane. Fr. Michael Flood, P.P., undertook alterations to the church in 1948-49, a new sacristy was erected as was a new sanctuary, new porch and bell tower. The belltower was transformed into a shrine to Our Lady by Fr. Gilhooly. Further repairs to the church were undertaken in 1980 and again in 1991 when a new roof was installed. In 1968 a curate’s house was built at Kilbride by Fr. Flood on the site of the old school, adjoining Kilbride church. A new cemetery at Kilbride opened in 1972 on part of the church grounds. (Information from Olive Curran History of the Diocese of Meath.)

Kilbride School

Dr. Plunket, Bishop of Meath, visited Moymet parish in 1788 said there were two schools in operation in the parish. One may have been kept by the mathematical scholar Bryan Callaghan of Tullaghanogue. In 1799 the parson of Moymet recorded two schools.  In 1826 there was a school at Kilbride, paid for by subscriptions of £15,  which was organised by a committee. In 1835 a school at Moymet was held in a house given rent-free by Fr. Tuite, P.P. It received £5 from Lord Shelborne and £2 from the Protestant Rector. A National school, built by local subscription, was established in Kilbride in November 1845. This building was next to the church. One hundred years later this school was replaced by the current building. The new site was provided by the Gannon Estate. A four room extension was added in the 1970s.

St. Brigid and Kilbride

St. Brigid was the most important Irish female saint and as Meath is located between her two major devotional centres of Kildare and Faughart it is clear that she had a major following in this area. Many Meath parishes have St. Brigid as their patron and the county has a number of Kilbrides and a number of Tubrids. Kilbride means the church of Brigid and turbid means tobar or the well of Brigid. Wells dedicated to St. Brigid are scattered throughout the county.

St. Brigid’s well at Iskaroon, Dunderry, is located near the site of the church and graveyard of St. Brigid. The well was enclosed and covered by Lord Trimlestown, who had a stone plaque erected to his memory. The stone bears the following inscription: “Pray for the soule of Robert, Lord Baron of Trimlestowne 1687” The well is associated with the well at Tullaghanogue which bears a similar plaque.

In a letter of 26 February 1196 from Pope Celestine III to the abbess of the monastery of St Mary, Clonard, there is a mention of the church of St Brigid of Trim. An Augustinian foundation founded after 1144 was confirmed to the nuns of Clonard in 1195. No such church is known to have existed in Trim and it is likely to have been at Kilbride, 6km to the northwest of the town. There is a mention of a convent of nuns at Trim, but Gwynn and Hadcock suggest that this may also have been at Kilbride. Probably dissolved sometime after 1310.

Kilbride House

Kilbride house at Moymet, Trim was the residence of the Rochfort, Longfield and Rotherham families. The Rochfort family are associated with Kilbride since at least 1415. According to the Civil Survey (1654-6) Robert Rochfort owned 328 acres at Kilbride in Moymet parish in 1640, and on the property were ‘a stone house and a mill.’ In 1685 Robert Longfield who was born in Wales received land grants in counties Clare, and Westmeath, while in Meath he acquired 641 acres largely in Kilbride alias Kilbridge, Kellistown (Kennastown?), Robertstown and Villonage (?) as the manor of Kilbride, where he settled. Although he forfeited the estate by supporting James II in 1689, it was restored to him in 1692. His son, William, or more probably his grandson, Robert, adapted the Rochfort house into a three bay, two storey and attic mansion by inserting large Georgian windows and a pediment doorway at the first floor on the east side. A large house was attached to the south in the nineteenth century.  

Kilbride House Photo: Noel Fagan.

In the eighteenth century Kilbride was held by the Longfield family with Robert being recorded as owner in 1712. Robert was the son of John Longfield who was born at Denbigh, Wales and was born there in 1652. He obtained grants of lands in Meath, Westmeath and Clare. A friend of Jonathan Swift he died in 1711. William Longfield is recorded at Kilbride in 1723. The family seem to have died out later in the century. In 1835 Kilbride, Moymet was the property of Lord Shelburne. His agent, John G. Dawson, had his residence adjoining the old castle near the south side of the townland. John S.A. Rotherham was the occupier of Kilbride castle in 1856 and his son, George Augustus, is listed as owing 262 acres in 1876. Sarah Brinkley married George Rotherham as his second wife. His daughter by his first marriage, Emily Constance, was married to Alexander Macaulay of Cushendall, Co. Antrim. In 1911 George and his wife Jessie Rotherham were living at Kilbride. In 1942 the property was in the hands of Mr. Joyce. The castle stood in his farmyard. In 1989 the ruins of Kilbride house were used for a scene in the film, “Fools of Fortune”. A night scene I remember seeing the sky lit up with flames as the house was “destroyed”.  “Fools of Fortune” was released in 1990. Made by Pat O’Connor, it starred Julie Christie. It depicted a Protestant family caught up in the conflict between the British Army and the I.R.A. during the War of Independence.  This film was based on the story by Irish novelist, William Trevor.


Moymet Castle

By inquisition taken at Dunboyne in the first year of Henry VI. (1421), the lands of Moymet and Clonfane, in the County of Meath, were found forfeited, and were seized by the King’s escheator, as having been aliened by Esmond Butler, son and heir of James, Lord and Baron of Dunboyne, deceased, to Connor O’Mulroony and John Machan, chaplains, and their heirs, they being Irish and of Irish nation.

Sir Lucas Dillon  held the title of Chief Baron of the Exchequer during the time of Queen Elizabeth I and had lands in Trim and Newtown.    He built the castle and church of Moymett on the occasion of his marriage to Jane Bathe. He married Jane Bathe of Athcarne castle and they had 7 sons and 5 daughters. His eldest son, James, turned Protestant and became the first Earl of Roscommon and it was probably he that abandoned Moymet. 

This is a tower house of four storeys, with the remains of a stone house. 15m to the west. The gatehouse is 80m to north and the parish church of Moymet is to the west.

The Tower house has loops for shooting out of. The first floor has a large window in the east wall with a garderobe chamber just north of it. A garderobe was a toilet and it sounds like our modern word wardrobe and it is where people kept their clothes and the ammonia and other gases given off killed the lice and insects in the clothes. There are a number of fireplaces on the three levels. The parapet does not survive.

The fortified house was 37m in length, and 13m wide, the principal walls being 1.7m thick. Seven large windows can still be counted in the southern portion of the ruins. These large windows show that the landowner thought it was safe to settle here. The tower house was erected when this area was subject to attack and so has smaller windows and is built to a height.  It survives today as the remains of a barrel-vaulted chamber

A sheela-na-gig figures is located on one of the castle walls. A sheela na gig is a rude figure usually showing and woman with her legs spread apart and generally erected on the outside of churches. Why? No one know! The features displayed did not conform to the traditional sheela image and it is difficult to interpret.

The gate house is a rectangular structure with a vaulted passage but much of the vault is damaged. A flat-arched doorway in the west wall of the passage leads to a guard room.

Externally, a flat-arched doorway in the south wall leads to a newel stairs that rises to the first floor, which has large windows in the north and west walls and a fireplace.

A church at Moyamet is listed in early 1300s but was probably re-built by Lucas Dillon. A report from 1622 says the church and chapel were repaired but by the 1680s the church was ruined since 1641 and the graveyard was not enclosed.  The church appears to have been built in two separate parts. Chancel older and narrower than the nave which is wider. A stairs was added internally to the NE angle of the nave that provided access to the rood-loft, where the priest lived. In 2016 with funding from the County Council, Dunderry Historical Society and others repairs were made to the east window and the doorway.

James Reilly joined the Leinster regiment of the British army and served in France from 1914. He died at home as a result of the war on January 1918. He is commemorated here by a Commonwealth Grave marker. He was the son of Thomas and Anne Reilly, Dogstown, Trim. He was aged just 26 when he died.

Lucas Dillon

Sir Robert Dillon lands of the monastery of Newtown Trim by Henry VIII. His son Edmund had been the last prior of St. John’s.

Robert’s  eldest son was Sir Lucas Dillon who inherited the lands at Newtown. Lucas  was born in Newtown in about 1530. He was a member of the Irish House of Commons for Meath in the Parliament of 1568. Sir Lucas had a slightly mixed reputation: he was held in high regard by Queen Elizabeth I., but accused of corruption by his enemies. The Irish governer Sir Henry Sidney called him “my faithful Lucas”. Lucas was one of Sidney’s few influential supporters during the so-called “cess controversy”, the much resented attempt to impose a tax for the upkeep of troops on the gentry of Pale. You may have heard the term bad cess to you – well that means a bad tax on you.

In 1565, he was appointed solicitor general for Ireland and, later that year married Jane Bathe of Athcarne castle and has 7 sons and 5 daughters by her. When he married he bought an estate at Moymet, where he built Moymet Castle, and rebuilt and extended the church.

He eventually rose to be Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer.

About 1575 Lady Jane died. Their first son, Sir James Dillon, was later  made the 1st Earl of Roscommon.

In 1578 Sir Lucas Dillon married secondly and his new wife was the widow of Sir Christopher Barnewall, of Turvey who had died 3 years previously.In Lusk Sir Lucas Dillon  and his wife Marion Sharle erected a  monument to Sir Christopher Barnewall, and to Marion. The date of the erection of this (Lusk) tomb was 1589.

The deceased knight is represented in a suit of armour, his head uncovered and his hands joined on his breast in a devotional attitude, and his feet resting on the body of a greyhound.

His wife appears lying beside him shoulders and arms touching with her hands crossed on her bosom, and her head reposing on an embroidered pillow.

Lady Marion, died in 1607 and was buried in the elaborate tomb alongside her first husband Christopher Barnewall in Lusk Church. The tomb is currently housed in the medieval belfry tower at Lusk.  Sir Christopher Barnewall of Turvey and Marion had thirteen children together, one of whom, Eleanor, married Lucas’ son, Sir James Dillon, the 1st Earl of Roscommon. To make matters more confusing, Lucas’ mother was also born a Barnewall.

Lucas died in Dublin in 1593, and was buried beside his first wife Jane at Newtown, near Trim.

The tomb has the effigies of a lady and her knight carved in relief. The side-panels have three shields each, representing the Bathe, Dillon, and Barnwall families and their connections. The west end has a relief of a kneeling man and woman with three children on either side beneath a sunburst wherein is carved ‘DIEV, GOD’. The east stone has a raised panel for an inscription that was never applied.

A daughter of the Dillons called Thomasina married a Plunket of Loughcrew and was mother of St. Oliver Plunket who was executed at Tyburn on 1st July 1681. A sister of Sir Lucas married Robert Rochfort of Kilbride castle and another married a Rathmore Plunket.

Dillon Tomb, Newtown Trim.

Church of Ireland Rectors

With small numbers the Church of Ireland gave up many of the smaller churches in the countryside and these eventually fell in to ruin. Smaller parishes were united to form unions of parishes. Tullaghanogue and Moymet became part of the Union of Trim, consisting of Trim, Newtown Clonbun, Kilcooley,  Scurlogstown,  Tullaghanoge, and Moymet. The Union as at present, excluding Moymet, was formed in 1731. Moymet continued as an independent  Parish, though without a church, until the middle of  the nineteenth century, when, on the death of John  Hussey Burgh, it was suspended. The position of rector was a paid position even though there may have been less than a handful of parishioners. The position was awarded by the Government in Dublin and paid for out of tithes on the landowners.

1622 ” Noe curate.”
1666 John Crookshank, D.D.   
1670 John Harper.
1732 United to Trim.

1622 ” Noe curate.”
William Meoles (1633).
1671 Robert Erwing.
1682 George Proud.
John Stearne, 1713.
1713 Anthony Raymond, D.D.
1726 George Allcock.
1748 Daniel Beaufort.
1758 Washington Cotes, LL.D.
1762 John Auchmuty.
1793 Thomas Vesey Dawson.
1793 George Alley.
1807 John Hussey Burgh.

Swift and Moymet

When Bishop Sterne was translated from the Diocese of Dromore to Clogher in 1713 the rectory of Moymet became vacant. Jonathan Swift, Rector of Laracor, made a case for the appointing of his friend, Rev. Anthony Raymond, Rector of Trim, as rector of Moymet. He said it was worth “a mere £40 a year” and was “hardly worthwhile for anyone else to pass patent on it.” In 1713 Swift was appointed Dean of St. Patrick’s in Dublin but held onto to his Meath parishes of Laracor, Agher and Rathregan. He had once said he would give up Laracor to Raymond if he secured the better position but instead seems to have supported Raymond’s case for Moymet but it turned out that there were a lot of people interested in the £40 a year. The Lord Lieutenant, the Duke of Ormonde, was very taken with one applicant, a blind clergyman named Dunbar but Dunbar received another position. Swift made a number of appeals to the Duke and other officials. Swift had almost given up when at last Raymond was appointed  to Moymet. Raymond was a good friend of Stella. He was also interested in the Irish language and history.

Swift is said to have visited the Longfields at Kilbride Manor and dined there with Stella and the family.

Beaufort and Moymet

Rev. D.A. Beaufort was made rector of Moymet in 1747 and resigned in 1758. His son, Francis, was the devisor of the internationally know Beaufort Wind Scale.  

Daniel Augustus Beaufort was born in 1839 and was educated first at Preston’s Endowed School in Navan and then at Trinity College where he received a Master of Arts degree in 1759. Inducted into Holy Orders in 1762, three years later he replaced his father as rector of Navan. His father, Daniel Cornelius de Beaufort, was born in Wessel, Westphalia, in 1700 of Huguenot parents. The Beaufort family were French Protestants who fled France after the revocation of the edict of Nantes. In 1746 he came to Ireland as chaplain to Lord Harrington, the newly appointed Viceroy of Ireland and was appointed rector of Navan, a position he held for the next eighteen years until he relinquished it to his only son, Daniel Augustus.

John Foster, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, presented Daniel Augustus to the vicarage of Collon, Co. Louth where he designed the new church, inspired by King’s College chapel, Cambridge.  There being a vicarage house at Collon and no free house in Navan Daniel moved to Collon where Foster also presented him with a farm.

Daniel and his family often resided with different relatives or at different locations depending on which ever was cheapest at the time.  In 1767 he married local heiress, Mary Waller of Allenstown, but this did not ease his financial difficulties. His two sons spent much of their lives paying off their father’s debts. Daniel was often absent from his duties in Collon and Navan and once spent a five year period in South Wales. 

A noted map-maker, road-maker and topographer in 1792 he produced a map of Ireland which was the most complete and accurate at that time. A designer and architect Daniel designed the new church in Navan which was opened in 1818. He was also involved in much of the design and building of new glebe houses, schools and churches in the diocese, including plans for the Bishop’s palace at Ardbraccan. Daniel Beaufort was a man of wide interests which included architecture, topography and agriculture and was involved in the foundation of the Royal Irish Academy. Retiring as rector of Navan in 1818 he died at his son’s home at Upton, Innishannon, Co. Cork in 1821.

Victim of Great Flu buried in Moymet 1919

Obituary – Mr. James Moore, Trim.

Deep regret is expressed in Trim at the death of an energetic and promising young townsman – Mr. James Moore – which sad event took place at his mother’s residence on Sunday evening last. The deceased youth – he had only attained his twenty-fourth year – was the younger son of the late Mr. J. Moore, the proprietor of the Trim Printing Works. The fatal illness which swept this popular hound man away began by an attack of influenza some ten days prior to his death. Pneumonia followed, and despite the care of Dr. O’Reilly, the end came peacefully on Sunday evening last, after the administration of the Sacraments by Rev. J. Woods, P.P.

During his short life the deceased had won a niche for himself in athletic and Young Ireland circles. He was a valued and useful member of the Trim Hurling Club and as ‘right forward’ did useful work for his team in several of senior finals. He was an enthusiastic member of the local Sinn Fein Club, and worked assiduously in its cause. His popularity was amply testified to by the cortège which accompanied the remains for internment in the family burial ground, Moymet, on Tuesday last. Despite the inclemency of the day not alone did the local Volunteers march with creped arms, but a contingent also travelled from Athboy to participate in the last tribute to their comrade. Members of the Cumann na mBan also attended, and in the general public there were representatives of the trades and professional men of Trim. Father Wood read the prayers at the graveside. To Mrs. Moore, Miss Moore and Mr. Jos. Moore deepest sympathy is widely extended in their very sad bereavement. The chief mourners were Mr. Jos. Moore (brother); Messrs. L. Rooney, Trim; P. Rooney, Moymet and P. Rooney, Kilbride (uncles) – RIP Drogheda Independent 22 March 1919 page  5

Moymet 1837

MOYMET,  a parish, in the barony of Upper Navan, county of Meath, and province of Leinster, 2 miles (N.W.) from Trim, on the road to Kells and Navan; containing 634 inhabitants.  It comprises 3174 statue acres, as applotted under the tithe act, consisting of arable and pasture land of good and middling quality. There is abundance  of limestone, used for building.  Lord Sherborne has lately constructed a good house here, with which part of an old castle is incorporated; it is the residence of J.G. Dawson, Esq., his lordship’s agent.  The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Meath, and in the patronage of the Crown; the tithes amount to £230.15.4 ½.  The glebe-house was erected by aid of a gift of £400, and a loan of £400, in 1812, from the late board of First Fruits;  the glebe comprises 10 acres, valued at £15.15. per.  annum.  In the R.C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising the parishes of Moymet, Churchtown, Tullyhanogue, Rataine, Kilcooly, and Clonmacduff, in which union are two chapels, in Moymet and Churchtown.  About 90 children are educated in a school aided by annual donations from Lord Sherborne and the rector; the school-house was given by Rev. Mr. Tuite P.P.

Tober Rua

Photos taken in December 2009 on a visit to the well with Sean Fay.

Tobar Rua, is an well located north-north-west of Trim town in the parish of Moymet, near a field boundary, next to the old railway line. Visiting the well with Sean Fay I discovered there is a reddish tinge on the surface of the mud around the well, possibly from the iron content of the water. The well appears to be a natural feature with no stone work surrounds or channelling. As Paddy Keely said in his book on Dunderry the water appears to emerge from under a large rock. The rock itself appears to consist of a conglomeration of smaller stones. This well is reputed never to have gone dry.

Locals did not use the well and there has never been a pilgrimage to the well. There are no cures associated with the well. The well is not marked on the OS maps. There is a lovely photo of Sean Fay and Paddy Keely at the well in Paddy’s Dunderry book.

Until 2007 Tober Rua was the only well listed as a protected structure in the Meath County Development Plan. It is suggested that the well has a connection to St Ruadan but the name is more probably derived from the iron in the water which gives rise to the red (rua in Irish) colour. St. Ruadháin studied under St. Finian at Clonard. Founder of the monastery at Lorrha in Tipperary,  St. Ruadháin cursed Tara  in 566 saying that no further high kings would reside there. In 1836 John O’Donovan wrote that there was a very curious well in Moymet or Kilbride parish called Uisce Ruadháin. He said that the locals believed this name came from the reddish colour but O’Donovan believed it was from St. Ruadháin. Another name attributed to the well is Tobar Rus.

There are a number of other iron wells in the county including St. Ciaran’s well, St. James Well and another Tober Rua at Donaghmore. Margaret Conway wrote that there are several wells in the county bearing  the same name, perhaps from a reddish colour in the water, and to many of them the cure for the red swelling known as the Rose is attributed.

Dr. Beryl Moore contended that it was a pre-Christian well and that the well was likely to have been of considerable importance in Iron Age times not only for the curative properties of its waters but also as a source of iron for tools and weapons.

Water containing ferrous iron is clear and colourless because the iron is completely dissolved. When exposed to air the water turns cloudy and a reddish brown substance begins to form. Essential for good health, iron helps transport oxygen in the blood. When iron exists along with certain kinds of bacteria, these bacteria utilize the iron, leaving behind a reddish brown or yellow slime.

Ordanance Survey Field Name Book 1835

Moymet Parish (Alias Kilbride)

Moymet parish contains 3255 acres. Thompson of Rathnally and Reynall of Killynan (County Westmeath) and Lord Shelborne are the owners. There are ruins of an old castle said to have been built in Queen Elizabeth’s time by Sir Lucas Dillon. Its name means Mead’s plain. The Meades were a very old clan and a neighbouring townland is called Meadstown. Townlands. . .

Clondaven. Duane’s meadow. The family of O’Dubhain now style themselves “Downes”. Captain Mockler of Trim owns this townland (132 acs). The oil is a stiff yellow clay producing 70 barrels of potatoes per Irish acre, 9 barrels of wheat or 14 barrels of oats. The county cess is ½ per Irish acre per ½ year.

Clonfane . Cluain Fain means ‘A sloping Plain’. There are 366 acres and all belongs to Thompson of Rathnally. It is kept in cultivation. It is let in farms of 3 to 96 acres at 33/- to 40/- per acre. All the inhabitants are R.C’s.

Little Iskaroon. Eiscir Ruadhain means Rowan’s gravel ridge. Another authority says its name is “Uiscir Ruadhain” which means Rowan’s pond or river. It contains 14 acres and is all owned by Councellor Grogan of Dublin and is held by Richard Reynall of Killynan as a stockfarm at £2 per Irish acre.

Iskaroon . Contains 276 acres, all under tillage and the property of Morley Saunders Esq. of Kilkenny. It is held under lease renewable for ever by John Bury Esq. of Prosperous Co. Kildare at an annual rent of 6/- per Irish acre. It is re-let by him at 32/- per acre without leases. The soil is gravely and produces 9 barrels of wheat per acre per ½ year. There is an old church near the centre of this townland said to have built by 3 pious women commonly called “The 3 Sisters”. A little outside the West corner of the graveyard there is a well with a stone over it. On the stone is the following inscription “PRAY FOR THE SOUL OF ROBERT BARON TRIMBLESTOWN, 1687”. The water of this well is said to be the best in Great Britain and Ireland. The place is locally called “The Church and Well of Skirowen”. The inhabitants of this townland are all R.C.’s

Kilbride . Cill Bhrighde. Bridget’s church. It contains 1102 acres all under cultivation. Lord Sherbourne owns it and his agent is John G. Dawson Esq. whose residence adjoins an old castle near the South side of the townland called Moymet. On a by-road leading to Navan (also in the South of the townland) is a Roman Catholic Chapel capable of holding 700 persons. The people attend Trim market which is about 3 miles away. Only the agent is a Protestant. Kilbride House and Priory are in this townland.

Moymet. It contains 906 acres all under cultivation. It is the property of Thompson of Rathnally, and is let without leases in farms of 2 to 120 acres at 27/- per acre. The ruins of an old castle and an old church are near the centre of this townland and convenient to a byroad. It is said that the castle was destroyed by Cromwell. All the inhabitants are R.C.’s.

Yellow Walls or the Meadows. O’Donovan preferred the first name. It contains 152 acres and is the property of Reynell of Killynan who holds it as a stock farm. The herd an R.C. is the only inhabitant.

Glebe. A small townland of 16 acres held by the Rev. G. Alley as a church property. The Glebe House is situated to the South-East of the townland.

Stones town. Bailer Na Cliché in Irish means ‘The Town of the Stones’. It contains 407 acres owned by Miss Reynall who is a minor. The agent is Mr. Maxwell of Rainelle. It is let in farms of 4 to 84 acres at a yearly rent of 34/- per acre for the period until the heiress becomes of age. She is now 16 years old. The manure is dung. All the inhabitants are Rica’s.

Taken from Notes by Dr. Beryl F.E. Moore 1978

Mick Hynes

Michael Hynes, born in 1882, was the son of Thomas and Julia Hynes. Thomas was a shepherd and steward at Tullyard, Trim. In 1901 Michael Hynes was employed as a shop assistant by Richard Kelly of Athboygate, Trim, and he resided on the premises. In 1911 Hynes was still a grocer’s clerk but was residing at home with his parents and family at Tullyard. Hynes was a prominent member of the Bohermeen G.A.A. football team which held the county senior football championship for a number of years. There was no Trim team during these years. Hynes joined the Trim hurlers and was in the Trim’s team which won their first senior hurling title in January 1916 in the 1915 final and followed it up with Trim holding the title for nine years. Hynes became involved in the Volunteer movement after the 1916 Rising. The first meeting of the Trim Company of Irish Volunteers took place in November 1916 at the water reservoir at Effernock.

Mick Hynes in Bohermeen jersey 1914

Eleven men joined and the first Company Captain was Séamus O’Higgins but was later succeeded by Mick Hynes.Trim was one of the earliest companies to be formed in Meath. In a restructuring about a year later Hynes became Officer Commanding of the Second Trim battalion which covered the areas of Trim, Boardsmill, Ballivor, Longwood, Enfield and Dunderry.His brothers, Patrick and James, also served with the Trim Company. Michael Hynes, giving his address as Market Street, was elected to terim Urban District Council in 1920 representing Sinn Féin/Labour.

In late 1919 Trim based Constable Meehan got in touch with the local IRA through Hynes. Hynes informed Meehan that the Tans were on their way to Trim and the barracks needed to be taken before they arrived. The couple began to make plans to capture the barracks. Meehan told Hynes that the best time to take the barracks was on a Sunday morning during first Mass at the local church. Meehan drew a plan of the barracks and showed the location of all the rooms including the ammunition store. Meehan also gave Hynes an impression of the keys of the front and back doors which he made in bars of soap.

On Sunday 26th September 1920 a large number of Volunteers from the South Meath division of the IRA burned the Trim R.I.C police barracks. Mick Hynes  and Paddy Mooney were in charge of the raid. Hynes and Mooney were first though the door of the barracks. As they did so Head Constable White appeared with a drawn revolver but the Volunteers got off a shot and the Head Constable fell dead.

Following the burning of Trim barracks a reward of £1,000 was offered for the three ring leaders, Hynes, Mooney and Séamus Higgins. These men often stayed at the Keely house in Iskaroon, Dunderry, while they were on the run. While on the run Hynes fell ill with pneumonia and had to fight the illness under terrible conditions.

Word came down from headquarters that ambushes were to be organised to keep the British forces busy so that the British forces would not be transferred to places like Cork where there was more intense Volunteer activity. While on routine patrol on the night of Tuesday 25 January twelve of the Trim Tan and RIC garrison walked into an ambush by the local Volunteer Company at Haggard Street. “The Gael” McArdle, the two Hynes brothers, Mick and Pat, the two Higgins brothers Seán and Séamus, Ned and Jimmy Sheridan and a man named Kiernan took cover behind a wall at a derelict site on Haggard Street to await the patrol. The patrol numbered about twelve men and they patrolled the town each night when the public houses were about to close around 10 p.m. The Volunteers carried rifles, shotguns and a couple of hand-grenades. When the patrol were well inside the ambush position, grenades were thrown  and the Volunteers opened fire at the same time. The patrol ran for cover and replied to the Volunteer’s fire. A sharp battle ensued for fifteen minutes after which the Volunteers withdrew across fields to the back of the derelict site and got away on to the railway line. The patrolling police were hit hard that night and the attack on them ended only when reinforcements came to the scene. By then three of them lay wounded.

They were Constables Barney and Packman who were English and a Scotsman, Constable McQuat. A week later Constable Barney, who had been wounded in the head, died in a hospital in Dublin. Following this attack another bout of fear gripped Trim as the populace anticipated a second night of reprisals. Schools closed, business came to a standstill and a large number of people left their homes, many of them taking refuge in the workhouse. Although there was some intimidation, warning notices urging the occupants to leave town were placed on the doors of the businesses of Sinn Féiners such as Harry Allen and Bernard Reilly of Market Street. The local clergy secured a guarantee that there would be no repeat of the September reprisals. This time the guarantee was honoured. Hynes was in charge of the Trim Column until after the Truce. When the IRA was re-organised in April 1921 Hynes was appointed brigade quartermaster of the 2nd Meath Brigade. He took the pro-Treaty side and served in the National Army until 1924. He was a small farmer and also worked in Trim for many years. Hynes served as chairman of the Old IRA South Meath group. He died in 1956, aged 74, at Tullyard and he was buried in Moymet cemetery. His name was inserted on the family headstone in 2020 with thanks to Aidan Heffernan. It is much appreciated. That these heroes of our country be remembered.  

        Mick Hynes in later years

Penal Cross

This  penal cross was discovered when Smith’s old house at Moymet, Trim, fell about 1950. A new hay barn is on the site. This family of Smith’s founded J & E Smith in Trim. The cross has on the back the date 1806. A considerable number of these small wooden crucifixes have survived from the early 18th to the mid 19th centuries. They are all alike even in the technique of carving which suggests that they were produced by a family of hereditary carvers in County Donegal for sale to the pilgrims visiting St. Patrick’ Purgatory in Lough Derg. These wooden crucifixes measure 10 cms long, the face is without features, the torso is very long, the loincloth is indicated by strokes, the legs are fused, the feet only are indicated by strokes, a very large nimbus and INRI over the head.  

There are similar penal crosses from Meath in the Diocesan Museum in Mullingar, the Museum at Maynooth College and the National Museum of Ireland, Castlebar. It was once said that the crosses had short arms so they could be more easily hidden in sleeves but probably the more realistic answer is that longer arms would have easily been snapped off by accident.

Tullyard- Tullach Ard

O’Donovan derives Tullyard from Tulaigh Ard, meaning high hill and stated that it was the seat of O Coindealbhain. Tullyard was the centre for the kings of Lóegaire Breg. The name element, Tulach,  meaning hill, has a widespread distribution throughout the country but by far more common in Ulster. Tulachard makes 16 appearances as Tullyard. There are twelve townlands in Meath where the component Tullach or its derivatives are the first component. It has been suggested that Tullyard was the site of an early church identified in the  Book of Leinster as Ciaran Tulche Airdde, Ciaran Aird Heó and Brenaind Aird Eo. From this it would appear that the original name for the place was Ard Eó, the height of the yews.

O’Donovan provided Baile Cloghthighe for Steeplestown, the town of the steeple or round tower belfry. John O’Donovan said that there was a clogteach there while Dean Butler, the local historian of the time, disagreed. The annals record a round tower at Tullyard but when the boundaries of the townland were laid out the tower was in Steeplestown. The tower was burned in 1171 by Tiernan O’Rourke. Barrow lists this round tower as a disappeared tower.

In the twelfth century the Anglo-Normans invaded Ireland. Tullyard may have been the base for Hugh de Lacy before he fortified Trim. There are no earthworks within the modern townland of Tullyard but the townland to the immediate south, Steeplestown, contains a bivallate ringfort, consisting of a raised circular area with an annexe attached to its northern flank. An outer bank formerly surrounded the main section. Known locally as the ‘Moat’ the south, east and west sides resembles a motte with steep sides and perhaps the addition of stone facing, with the annexe to the north possibly being a bailey. This ringfort was modified by de Lacy’s forces to provide a military base; perhaps this rather than Trim was the initial fortified base for the area. The royal site of Tulach Ard was linked to an ecclesiastical site, now remembered in the townland name ‘Steeplestown’.  Tullyard was the site of an early church identified in the Book of Leinster as Ciaran Tulche Airdde, Ciaran Aird Heó and Brenaind Aird Eo. The round tower at this church was burned during a raid into Mide by Tigernán Ua Ruairc in 1171. Two months later, in March 1177, Miles de Cogan, attempted an invasion of Connacht. Some of de Lacy forces from Tullyard joined in the raid on Connacht. The province was devastated and burnt by the invaders as far as the river Suck but from there to Tuam they found themselves in an abandoned and desolate countryside, the churches and buildings having been burnt by the people and all the provisions destroyed or stored away underground. Faced with a complete lack of provisions in Tuam, and hearing that Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair was gathering a huge force the Anglo-Norman retreated back across the Shannon. Following some heavy fighting with Ua Conchobair’s forces de Cogan reached Dublin safely.

Tullyard House

Tullyard House outside Trim was home to the winter and Purdon families. Described as a charming Regency villa, Tullyard may have been designed by Sir Richard Morrison. In 1652 Samuel Winter, who had received an MA at Cambridge, was made Provost of Trinity College and managed to acquire land in Offaly and at Tullyard, Trim, Meath.  The family continue to hold the land as part of their estate and it was included in the amalgamation of the Winter and Pratt estates in the eighteenth century. John Pratt Winter of Agher married Anne Gore in 1794.

John Pratt Winter resigned his commission as captain in the Lawyer’s Corps of the Yeomanry as he disagreed with the coercive measures employed by the government.

He practised as a barrister and became a magistrate. In 1805 he was made High Sheriff of Meath. They lived at Eccles Street, Dublin and Agher before moving to their newly completed home at Tullyard in 1808. Their two youngest children were born at Tullyard. They stayed a Tullyard until 1814 when John’s mother had died and then the family moved to the house at Agher.

In 1796 Samuel Winter, the eldest son of John Pratt Winter, was born in Dublin. Samuel lived at Agher until his father returned from Paris in 1825 and he managed the estate until the family returned. In 1835 Tullyard townland was the property of Mr. Winter. The dwelling house and offices were in good repair.

After the marriage Samuel and Lucy lived at Tullyard until 1846 when he succeeded to Agher, and the next year he came into the bulk of the estate of his uncle, Rev Francis. Their seven children were brought up at Tullyard.

Samuel Winter was a JP and Deputy Lieutenant of Meath, in 1837 he was elected High Sheriff of Meath and in 1851 of Cavan. He was a guardian of the Trim Union and in 1861 was Chairman of the Guardians. He died in 1867 and was buried with his wife Lucy in the Winter vault at Agher Church.

Benjamin Pratt Winter was born on 25th August 1808 at Tullyard. After school he spent some years in Paris with his parents. In 1824 he unsuccessfully applied to the Duke of Wellington, who was known by his father as a young man living at Dangan Castle just north of Summerhill, for a commission in the army. In 1827 he entered Trinity and graduated BA in 1832. He then became a surveyor on various railway projects in Ireland and England but he found the prospects were poor, so in 1837 he accepted a surveying post with the South Australian Land Company. In 1842 he purchased a flock of 2,000 sheep and settled on a sheep run in Victoria adjoining Cecil Pybus Cooke’s Pine Hill station. He died unmarried at Bryant’s Creek on 15th December 1844 at the age of 36.

In 1852 Samuel’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth, married George Nugent Purdon of Lisnabin, Killucan, Co. Westmeath. Elizabeth died in 1864 while her husband lived on until 1910. Elizabeth’s brother, Samuel Winter inherited the estates at Agher but when he died in 1905 without children  the property passed to Elizabeth’s son. 

Elizabeth’s son, Colonel Edward Winter and his wife Cecilia lived at Tullyard, Trim and later of Lisnabin, Killucan, Co. Westmeath. Edward was a land agent. Edward was a follower of the Meath Hounds. Mrs. Purdon hosted a regular party for the inmates of the Trim Industrial School. Their youngest son, George Hardress Purdon, was killed in action in France in 1916.

Peter Bamford’s website on the Bomford family provided much additional material on Tullyard and this article is majorly based on his work.

The Land Commission acquired Tullyard estate in 1928. The house was then taken by Henry  J. Kirwan from Galway. Mr. Kirwan was a handicapper for a number of race committees. In 1939 he was elected chairman of the Trim Agricultural Committee. A German, Hermann Bauer, acquired Tullyard.

Benjamin Pratt Winter was born on 25th August 1808 at Tullyard. After school he spent some years in Paris with his parents. In 1824 he unsuccessfully applied to the Duke of Wellington, who was known by his father as a young man living at Dangan Castle just north of Summerhill, for a commission in the army. In 1827 he entered Trinity and graduated BA in 1832. He then became a surveyor on various railway projects in Ireland and England but he found the prospects were poor, so in 1837 he accepted a surveying post with the South Australian Land Company. In 1842 he purchased a flock of 2,000 sheep and settled on a sheep run in Victoria adjoining Cecil Pybus Cooke’s Pine Hill station. He died unmarried at Bryant’s Creek on 15th December 1844 at the age of 36.

George Hardress Purdon, 2nd Lieutenant, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, 2nd Battalion, Baptised Trim, 16 January 1897. Son of Colonel Edward Winter and Cecilia Purdon, Tullyard, Trim and later of Lisnabin, Killucan, Co. Westmeath. Trim. Father’s occupation: Land Agent. Killed in action, 23 July 1916. Age: 19. Memorial: Pier and Face 13 A and 13 B, Thiepval Memorial.

Purdon, G.H. Second Lieutenant 60th Rifles K.R.R. (Trim Church of Ireland, Roll of Honour)

“Meath Officers Wounded – Three young officers, members of South Meath families, who gallantly responded to the call of duty on the outbreak of war have been wounded but are progressing favourably. They are Second Lieutenant Purdon of the Rifle Brigade; Second Lieutenant W.H. Potterton, Royal Engineers; and Second Lieutenant Fowler, King’s Royal Rifles. Lieutenant Purdon is son of Col. and Mrs. Purdon, formerly of Tullyard House, Trim and at one time very energetic members of Trim Rural District Council…” Meath Chronicle 8 January 1916.

“The magistrates at Trim Petty Sessions last Saturday passed a resolution of condolence to Col. and Mrs. Purdon Winter on the death at the front of their youngest son.” Meath Chronicle 19 August 1916.