Sites that have an incredibly personal or ancestral connection are few and far between, and this is why to me the old Church at Allen and its adjoining graveyard are so fascinating. On my first visit to this graveyard I was completely unaware that my great-grandfather Edward Dunne was buried there, it wasn’t until later that same evening that my father informed me of my oversight! of course I had to pay a return visit and found the grave, this also led me to searching the 1901 census results that show my great-grandfather, aged 21, living nearby and working as a blacksmith.
The area of Allen is steeped in history and is mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters as being a training ground for the Fianna, led by Fionn McCumhaill (for more information on this read my post on Alymer’s Folly at the nearby Hill of Allen).
The church that stands at Allen was built in 1783 and may have succeeded a previous thatched mass house. The church was in use until Easter Sunday 1872 when mass was celebrated for the first time at the more recent Holy Trinity church nearby. It seems the graveyard was in use until the mid 1940s, which means my great grandfather’s burial may have been one of the last to have taken place.
Allen graveyard is also the final resting place of Father Moore, a local parish priest born in 1779, who Lord Edward Fitzgerald any many others claimed had healing powers. A nearby well was named after Father Moore and is still visited by pilgrims hoping for a cure, however this well does pre-date Father Moore and was known as the ‘Black Well’ where mass was held during the 1500s.
GPS: 53.23943, -6.85426