Hill of Faughart Church, Louth, Ireland

The Hill of Faughart is one of the most strategically advantageous sites in the whole of Ireland and when one stands at its highest point it is quite easy to see why. From its peak you can observe the Gap of the North/Moyry Pass (the main south-north route on the eastern side of the country), Dundalk and its bay, the Cooley mountains and Slieve Gullion to its north and a large area of the inland north east of the Republic of Ireland. The site has been occupied since pre history and it has been a site of battles, births and burials and could be deemed as being just as important in Irish history as Clonmacnoise or Monasterboice. The earliest mentions of a battle on the site comes from as early as 284AD when Cormac Ulfada, High King of Ireland fought against Sotrno, the King of Lochlin. Ireland’s most famous female saint St Brigid was born here in 451 AD and a well and shrine on the hill have attracted pilgrims and visitors for 1500 years. In 732AD the hill was the site of the first Battle of Faughart between Áedh Roin, King of Ulaidh and the Northern Uí Néill, Áedh lost the battle and was decapitated on the Cloch an Commaigh (Stone of Decapitation) that until recently was located near the door of the church. The second, and most noted, Battle of Faughart was fought on 14th October 1318 between a Hiberno-Norman force led by John de Bermingham and Edmund Butler and a Scots-Irish army led by Edward Bruce, the brother of the legendary Robert Bruce, King of the Scots. Edward the Bruce who was hailed as King of Ireland by many Irish chiefs perished in battle and is buried in the graveyard.

The church that is situated in the graveyard is believed to date from the 12th century and is in a poor state however the unusual graves and beautiful views make this an excellent site to visit.

GPS: 54.05149, -6.38408

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