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Ecclesiastical Sites
in County Meath.

The Hill of Slane.

The Hill of Slane is where the first Easter fire was lit by St Patrick in 433 to symbolizes the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. The High King of Tara Laoghaire gave Patrick permission to preach the gospel after Patrick explained his message to him.

The hill was also the site of a 6th century monastery and church. These buildings and those that succeeded them were raided and plundered in turn by Vikings, Normans and lastly Cromwell's troops.

The ruins to be seen on the site today are those of a 16th century monastic college and church. The church tower has a narrow spiral stairway that leads to a flat roof with panoramic views of the countryside of Meath.


Clonard was founded by St Finnian, it developed as a teaching monastery shortly after its foundation there were 3000 students many of whom lived in wattle and mud huts until more substantial buildings were constructed. At this time Ireland was a renowned centre for learning and many of Europe's monarchs were educated in Irish monasteries, Dagobert II of the Western Franks and Aldfrid of Northumbria to name but two. St Colmcille of the Ulster O'Neills received part of his education at Clonard.