The Ruins at Grallagh were yet another site that I came across by pure chance. Initially it looked like just another old graveyard, but I decided to stop off for a closer look and I am sure glad that I did. Although I found it on the side of a typical country road in what looks like the back end of nowhere, it is actually located within the Fingal area of Dublin. This site turned out to be both a great find with a crumbling ruin of an old church, a holy well and a holy stone all in the one location. But it was also a nightmare to research. There really is very little to find in relation to this site, so apologies for the lack of history in this post.
Perched atop a small hill in the center of the graveyard are the remains of what I can only assume was an early Christian church. What is left of it is a partially crumbling wall and fragments of some foundations. As mentioned I could not even find a date for this church let alone any history associated with the ruin. The graveyard itself contains many grave markers which date from the 1700’s to the present day which would suggest that it is still somewhat in use. The majority of older graves are situated in the south of the graveyard and consist of various cut stone grave markers.
Moving on you will come across a rather unique structure also within the confines of the walled graveyard to the south of the church.This holy well a natural spring, it is accessed via stone steps which would lead me to believe that it may have once been used as an emersion well and may actually predate the arrival of Christianity. On my travels I have come across a number of these which were actually sacred springs used in ritual by the Druids of ancient Ireland. As part of the conversion to Christianity many of these popular sites were taken over by the church and given an association to a particular saint. In this instance depending on where you read or who you talk to, this well was connected to a St. Michael or St. MacCuillin or a St. Meccallin. Chances are all these are variations of the same name.There was a St. McCuillin whom founded nearby Lusk. Perhaps this is the Saint after which it is known as. The Spring/Well is now enclosed in a small well house which looks like a miniature early Christian chapel. The walls are made from cut limestone as is the double pitched roof. Traditionally these sacred waters were believed to have been a cure for the whooping cough. Sadly these waters have since dried up, perhaps as a result of the local agriculture affecting the water table.
Just outside the entrance to the graveyard there is an unusually shaped boulder, believed to be a holy stone. Again known as the Mark of St. Michael or the Grallagh Holy stone, it has a hole running through its center. It is said that if you lie on your back and put your hand through the hole, this will cure any backache which you may have. So the next time I do my back in, im going to give this a try. 🙂