After having spent a great deal my late teens and early twenty’s living in the Lexlip area, this hunt was a great trip down memory lane. It was amazing how this not so little town has grown since I last lived there almost fifteen years ago. Well the ruins of the old Confey church also known as St. Columba’s Church was quite easily found in the north-east corner of the current modern Confey cemetery. As I passed through the modern graveyard I noticed an unusual amount of graves of children I guess you could call this the ‘Holy Angels’ section. The church ruins are surrounded by a wooded area but are easily accessible. It was here that I began to recall some history of the area of which had some strong Viking connections. During the summer months Lexlip would hold its annual Salmon festival. I remember my first year living there, and on the last day of the festival a replica Viking Longship was burned in the river Liffey. In fact the area of Confey was the site of a great battle in 917AD where the Norse King Sigtrygg is said to have defeated the King of Leinster.
Upon entering the site the first thing which you will notice is a plaque left during some restoration works carried out by Kildare County Council back in 2000-2001. The Church itself believed to be dated 1200AD consists of the remains of a nave and chancel, which I believe are pre-Norman in date, though much of the existing structure is probably late medieval. The walls are of coursed limestone masonry. There are two remaining windows in the N and S walls of the chancel. Whilst it is possible to walk around the entire structure once you leave the relative safety of the stone slabs the ground becomes quite deceiving. The graveyard contains a various assortment of cut-stone grave markers from the 18th-20th centuries, along with some intriguing Crosses. Although the site is surrounded by woodland which gives a rather deceiving impression of seclusion there is a gap in the trees to the north of the chancery here you will find a rather precarious ditch which once crossed leads you to an adjacent field where you can find the ruins of Confey Castle to the North East. Now unfortunately as is the case, Time had gotten the better of me and I was unable to make my way to explore what remains are left of this ruined castle but rest assured I shall return and my findings shall be posted here. These ruins are a great find and well worth a visit, unfortunately even though set in a lovely secluded area surrounded by trees, I did not enjoy my visit here as much as I would have expected. A rather unpleasant & unexplainable feeling overcame me whilst on the grounds which overshadowed what would have normally been an enjoyable time for me. Now I am not easily creeped out or spooked by things but my gut told me that something here was just not right. After I put this down to perhaps the children’s graveyard had had some sort of negative effect on me but who knows? When I come back to explore the Castle ruins I intend to spend more time at the site of the church to try to figure out what had caused this unusual experience. If you do visit this site I would love to hear of your experience.