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St Brigid, Cannistown (Ardsallagh)

(53°37′6″N, 6°40′15″W)
Cannistown (Ardsallagh)
N 88 64
pre-1974 traditional (Republic of Ireland) Meath
now Meath
  • Rachel Moss

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Feature Sets

Nave and chancel church. The chancel (22.4 m x 7 m) is rubble-built with sandstone dressings with a possibly 13thc. door in the S wall and pointed lancet windows in the N and S walls. It has a round-headed chancel arch. The nave probably dates from the 15thc. and has limestone dressings. In the S wall of the nave are two ogival windows and a doorway. In the W wall is a cusped, ogee-headed window with belfry above.


A monastery was founded at the site in the 6thc., by St Finnian of Clonard. The present remains post-date the Anglo-Norman invasion. Following the invasion, lands here were granted to Hugh de Lacey and subsequently to the Nangle family.


Interior Features


Interior Decoration


Figurative carving of this scale and quality is rare in Ireland, with perhaps the closest parallels occurring at Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin. The moulding profiles of the 13thc. detailing also find parallels at Christchurch and at the cathedral of SS Peter and Paul at Newtown Trim, suggesting a date in the early part of the 13thc. Du Noyer identifies the scenes as an otter hunt and the last supper.

A. Cogan, The Diocese of Meath, Dublin, 1862, I, 113-116.
G. Du Noyer, 'Ardsallagh' Sketchbook, X, 17, 18, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.
H. Crawford, 'Cannistown Church, Co. Meath,' Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 51, 1921, 125-132.
M. Moore, Archaeological Inventory of Co. Meath, Dublin, 1987, 128.
L. de Paor, Chronological Problems of Irish Romanesque. Unpublished MA Thesis Univercity College Dublin ,1956.
W. Wakeman, Handbook of Irish Antiquities, Dublin, 1891, 204.