Rathcore Church – The patron saint of Rathcore parish is St. Ultan. Situated on a hillock with a small stream to the north east. In 1622 the church and chancel of Rathcoure was described as ruined, and listed as a chapel-of-ease to Trim.  In  Dopping’s Visitation Book (1682-85) St Ultan’s church at Rathcore was a chapel-of-ease to St Patrick’s in Trim, and the graveyard was not enclosed. At that time the church was in disrepair.   Rathcore is a gable-fronted church, dated to 1806, with three-bay side elevations to nave, leading to apse to east. There is no evidence of the older church but two stones re-used as grave-markers might be from a door-frame of the medieval church.  Porches were added, about 1865 to entrance gable and north elevation.

Headstones date largely from about 1780 to the present. A fragment of a headstone  has the incised date 1690 or 1660, and an incised double-line cross. A disc-headed cross in the graveyard has the date 161(2?) and what might be the letters ‘DRD’ in relief on one face.

About 150 yards from the church is the site of St. Ultan’s Well.  John O’Donovan recorded that the saint’s name was then anglicised as Hoult, and his blessed well called Tobar Ultain was located in the townland of Ballynaskea.  The well was reputed to have cures. The well was closed up with mud and sedge by 1837. The well may have been closed by a local tenant to prevent the pattern on his lands. Ballina­kill was the last home of the Kindelans, the O Ciondealbháin, former kings of Laoghire and patrons of St. Ultan’s monastery at Ardbraccan. It is natural that they should have dedi­cated the well at Rathcore to the same patron. In the 1930s the well was described as partly closed in and no pattern or religious ceremonies took place at the site.

Boggans is a detached four-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1820, now in use as public house. Single-storey porch addition to entrance elevation. Replacement timber sash windows and red brick chimneystack. Flat-roofed extension attached to rear. Remains of mud-walled outbuildings to rear. This thatched house makes a notable contribution to the streetscape, due to its location at the junction of several roads. Though many of the original features and materials have been replaced, this thatched house is representative of the vernacular tradition in Ireland.  

Raths – Within the townland of Rathcore there are four ringforts or raths  and one enclosure. A ringfort or rath was a roughly circular or oval area surrounded by an earthen bank with an external fosse. They functioned as residences and/or farmsteads and broadly date from 500 to 1000 AD. The four are:

Circular area defined by earthen bank (diam. 50m) with external fosse. Original entrance at NNE.

Circular area defined by scarp (diam. 58m) with traces of external fosse. Entrance may be at E or SW.

Slightly raised area defined by scarp (dims. 28m NNE-SSW, 22m WNW-ESE). No visible fosse or entrance.

Circular area defined by scarp (diam. 58m) with traces of external fosse. Entrance may be at E or SW.

Enclosure – Cropmark ring (diam. c. 70m) (CUCAP, BDU 56).

The 1865 Rathcore Evictions

In the spring of 1865 John Dyas, the local landlord, evicted 13 families from their homes in the small village of Rathcore County Meath. A special constabulary force of 140 police officers removed 87 men, women and children from their homes though some were allowed back under certain conditions. Dyas purchased part of the estate from absentee landlord George Knox and acting on an agreement made and following the murder of his agent Thomas Reynolds in December 1864 sent the crowbar brigade in. In the month of Nov. in the year 1867 five families named Chandeler, Nugent, Byrne, Flynn, and Hanley were heartlessly evicted from the Dyas estate at Rathcore, Enfield Co Meath.

Mr Dyas who lived at Kells sold the Estate to a man named Knox. The Estate consisted of about 800 acres and those five families held holdings on it of about 20 acres each. The buyer refused to complete the purchase unless the five families were evicted. So Mr. Dyas proceeded to take the necessary steps to have them evicted. His agent a man named Reynolds who also lived on the Estate received the necessary notices from Mr. Dyas’s solicitors to serve on the tenants. When the tenants received the notices feeling ran very high and the place was getting very hot for Reynolds.

The tenants held a secret meeting at which it was decided that Reynolds should be shot.
Poor Reynolds went to a neighbour’s house one night to play cards. The house was occupied by four women. The game was started in the sitting room. The man appointed to carry out the dreadful deed was outside the window armed with a gun. Two of the women sat between him and Reynolds and that was his difficulty. The game started at nine o’clock and proceeded on to eleven with the man still outside watching.
When one of the women suggested preparing some tea, all scattered around leaving poor Reynolds the target. When the opportunity offered the man fired and Reynolds fell riddled with shot.

Another Version – Lord Dyas was the landlord for this district. The people looked upon him as a bad landlord because he put out the poor people from their houses without giving them a chance to pay the rent.

When the people were evicted some of them died of cold and hunger, and others went to the poor house, if they were allowed in as at this time there were many evicted, and the poor houses were not able to accommodate them all.  There was an agent in this district. He got orders to put a lot of the people out that were not paying their rent. He did as he was told. Shortly after this, Mr. Reynolds had a card party in his own house, which is now the Protestant school of Rathcore. Mr Reynolds had evicted twenty-four during the week, and these tenants had it planned to shoot him on the night of the party. The snow was on the ground, and so the man who had planned to shoot him took off his boots and walked in the snow barefooted to avoid foot-prints of his boots. He went to the window and looked in and saw that they were playing cards. Mr Reynolds was sitting beside a lady, and a card dropped on the ground. The lady stooped down to get the card. While she was stooping the man shot Mr. Reynolds.

For further information see “The 1865 Rathcore Evictions” by Colin Rayfus.

World War 1 – Killed in WW1 John Rourke, Private, Connaught Rangers, 2nd Battalion. Baptised Enfield, 21 September 1895. Son of John and Anne Rourke, nee Allen, Rathcore, Enfield. Father’s occupation: Farm Labourer. Served in France from 14 August 1914. Killed in action, 1 November 1914. Age: 19. Memorial: LII.F.11; Poelcapelle British Cemetery.

County Councillor – Patrick James Kennedy (1864–1947), politician, was born 19 December 1864 at Rathcore House, Enfield, Co. Meath. He farmed extensively around Enfield and Trim. Kennedy served as MP for North Kildare (1892–5). He was also a governor of Mullingar district asylum and a JP for Meath. In 1899 he was elected to the new Meath county council for the Enfield area and became chairman of the new body. During his chairmanship Kennedy established a reputation as an able administrator and a stickler for legality. Kennedy was elected MP for North Westmeath in 1900. He left parliament at the 1906 general election, when his seat was taken by Ginnell. In March 1920, facing certain electoral defeat, Kennedy finally resigned from the council and retired from public life.   Kennedy died on 10 March 1947. His obituary in the Meath Chronicle claimed that while he kept local officials ‘on their toes’ and that he was a just man always ready to reward good service.