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Saul Church


Images of Saul Church as a slideshow
 
Saul is claimed to be the oldest ecclesiastical site in Ireland. In the year 432 Saint Patrick built a church here. Patrick on returning to Ireland appears to have made his first landing in County Wicklow near the mouth of the river Vartry, for whatever reason he did not stay long there and set a course north Upon reaching the mouth of Strangford Lough known as Lough Cuan (The quiet Lough) and previously as "Brennese" he was swept by the current into the Lough.

Landing at the mouth of the river Slaney about two and a half miles from Saul, he made contact with the local chieftain Diohu who after a conversation with Patrick gave him his barn the Irish word for barn was sabhall, and so Saul became the mother church of the whole Island.

The Abbey of Saul.

Later an abbey was built on the site, the Abbot of it was Saint Dunnius a discipleof Patrick,. it was raided and destroyed by the Danes in the 9th or 10th centuries. Malachy Bishop of Down rebuilt it in the 12th century, but it was plundered and almost totally destroyed by Edward Bruce in 1316. All that is to be seen today (pictured below) is a portion of one of the walls near the west door of the church, it dates from 1130 or earlier.

At Mearn wells Patrick is said to have caused by his prayers a fountain to appear, and the daughter of Diohu was baptized, she may have been the first in Ireland, although some accounts say that Diohu was the first person in Ireland to be baptized by Patrick.

The image on the right shows all that remains of The Abbey of Saul which was destroyed by Edward Bruce in 1316.

More About St Patrick.