Kilmanaghan Church, Offaly, Ireland

The area of Kilmanaghan is associated with the 6th century Saint Manchan, who established a monastic site nearby in Lemanaghan. The church dates from the medieval period however it was certainly in ruins by the middle of the 17th century, the Down Survey of 1657 records its existence as ‘the Ruined Church of Kilmanaghan’. In the latter part of the 17th century the church was partly rebuilt and served the local community of Protestants, this church was deserted by 1809.

The attractively walled graveyard that surrounds the church was a ‘mixed’ cemetery where people of various religious denominations were buried. One of the most eminent and haunting stones is a memorial to two United Irishmen, Feeny and Daly, who were hanged in Ballycumber and buried in Kilmanaghan.

Kilmanaghan is a very unusual and eye-catching sight, serious efforts have been made by the local community to prevent the further decay of the church, nevertheless it is a strange sight to see a fully mature tree standing right in the centre of the rectangular church. The outer south facing wall of the church is home to some very curious features, a carving of an Owl, a cross-inscribed stone, bullaun stone and even a quern stone. All of these were only uncovered in 1971 and then inserted into the church structure itself.

GPS: 53.36416, -7.65736

6 thoughts on “Kilmanaghan Church, Offaly, Ireland

  1. HI there – I am researching my family history from this area – are there any inscriptions on the headstones that are either recorded, or visible from the photos? I am looking for second name Bird!

    My email is if you have any info on this at all! 🙂

    • Hello Gill, From what I can recall of my visit to the graveyard a lot of the headstones are still visible, what date are you expecting these ancestors would have been buried there? I have checked a couple on line resources and it doesn’t appear that there is any documentation around a list of headstones etc.

    • Our local Tidy Towns committee are working on a project to provide an Information Board at Kilmonaghan I have seen a Gravestone there with the name William Bird. Michael Carton

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