As previously mentioned Castledermot began its life as an early Christian monastic settlement back around 500 A.D. This small town situated on the river Lerr, really is a fantastic gem of a find with many wonderful historical ruins to explore. There is the Abbey, a Hibernian-Romanesque arch, a 10th century round tower, two 9th century high crosses and a number of ancient stones and grave slabs. I have decided to post each one separately. Some of the information about the great history and archaeology of this great site comes from the guys at Abarta Heritage. Please take a moment and check out the link at the end of this post where you can hear the story for yourself with their free audio guides.
Just a short walk from the main street up a gorgeous tree lined avenue lies the site of the Church of Ireland St. James’s, and the location of many of the items to be found in Castledermot. St. James Church lies on the site of an ancient monastery which is said to have been founded back around 800AD by the father of St. Diarmuid from which the town takes its name. The monastery was like many others across Ireland was raided by plundering Vikings in the 9th century but is believed to have continued to function for at least another 300 years.
Unfortunately all that remains of this early monastic settlement is the lovely reconstruction of a Romanesque doorway which came from a church that has long since disappeared, A 10th century Round tower, two High Crosses with the remains of possibly a third and a number of ancient stones and grave slabs.With Large chevron designs resting on very eroded capitals. The Pillars of the archway are very plain and rounded. The arched doorway on the current Protestant church is of similar design which I taught complemented each other nicely.The Archway is the first thing you will see inside the walls of the churchyard, standing on its own, it truly is a wonderful feature.