Churches and monasteries

Hill of Slane

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The Hill of Slane rises 158 metres above the surrounding countryside and can be seen from the Hill at Tara, 16 kilometres away.

A well preserved tower is to be found among the ruins of a Franciscan monastery, dating from 1512, itself built on site of a monastery founded by St. Erc, a follower of St. Patrick.

The ruins of a college, built to house four priests, four lay brothers and four choristers, also remain. These were built by the Flemings (Barons of Slane from the 11th to 17th Centuries) for the Franciscans, the family’s coat of arms can be seen on the west wall of the college quadrangle. Thirty years after its foundation, the monastery was dissolved by King Henry VIII, its lands and wealth appropriated. In 1631, the Flemings restored the monastery. It became home to Capuchin monks, who, in turn, were driven out in 1651 by Oliver Cromwell.

Did you know? A ceremonial lighting of a great fire on The Hill of Tara (then the seat of the High King) occurred every spring equinox. It was forbidden to light any other fire until this one was ablaze. Legend suggests that, in 433, in defiance of the pagan High King Laoire, Patrick lit a Paschal fire on the Hill of Slane. Though angry, Laoire was so impressed by Patrick’s devotion he allowed him to continue his missionary work.

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