2008:683 - St Colmkille’s Church, Rathmore, Kildare

County: Kildare Site name: St Colmkille’s Church, Rathmore

Sites and Monuments Record No.: KD020–009(05) Licence number: 08E0681

Author: Martin E. Byrne, Byrne Mullins & Associates, 7 Cnoc Na Greine Square, Kilcullen, Co. Kildare.

Site type: Medieval

ITM: E 695824m, N 719505m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.217304, -6.565198

Monitoring of ground-reduction works was undertaken at St Colmkille’s (Columba’s) Church (Church of Ireland), Rathmore, in August 2008. The ground levels along the outer faces of the eastern and southern church walls had been raised by the dumping of soil over the last 100 years or so and this was identified as being a primary cause for dampness along the insides of such walls. Following consultation with the National Monuments Service, it was agreed that the removal of the dumped material should be monitored. The reason for this is that the present church, which was constructed in 1766, is on the site of an earlier church and within the zone of archaeological potential established for Rathmore, a former medieval borough.
Removal of the dumps of soil revealed four short fragments of walls, two extending east from the eastern gable and two from the southern gable. It is assumed that those on the east formed part of the chancel, which was in existence at least until c. 1630. The walls to the south may have formed part of a southern transept and it is noted that an arch was previously noted by parishioners at this location on the internal face following removal of plaster. This has since been replastered. In addition, the shadow of a similar arch on the internal face of the northern side wall is identifiable, indicating the probability of a northern transept. It may be that these possible transepts are associated with the four chapels which were identified with the Rathmore Church in 1533 (Bradley et al., 1987, 430–1). The wall remains were not further investigated as this was outside the agreed brief. However, the areas subjected to ground reduction have been covered in gravel to provide pathways around the church and the possibility of further investigations can easily be undertaken. No artefacts of archaeological interest were recovered, although a collection of loose human bone was recovered. It is assumed that this collection came from debris associated with the excavation of graves within the existing graveyard, which is still in use.
Bradley, J., Halpin, A. and King, H. 1987 Urban archaeological survey, Part VII (iv): County Kildare. Unpublished report, O.P.W.