One of the main reasons I paid a visit to Rathmichael church a few weeks back was to see the ‘Rathdown slabs’, the decoration on these stones point towards them being Viking burial markers. There are nine slabs in all, these are situated in or around the remnants of a later medieval church. A lot of Vikings settled in the area, and it is known that many converted to christianity. The church may have been built in the 1400s but it is hard to ascertain this because it may have been built on the foundations of a previous settlement, as the small base of the round tower is rumoured to have been built in the 9th century and the whole site stands within the boundaries of an ancient ring fort! The tower became known as ‘The Skull Hole’ and was used to hold skulls and bones from the graveyard when burial space was at a premium. Rathmichael Burial Ground really is one unusual place, and with a history so vague but checkered its well worth a visit!
GPS: 53.23289, -6.14653