Kilcavan Church, Wexford, Ireland

The medieval church at Kilcavan is marked by a circular earthen bank and hedge which encloses the church and graveyard. The church is named after St Cavan/Caomhán Santleathan of Ardcavan. The exact date of the construction of the church is unknown but it is recorded in 1615 in a visitation by Thomas Ram, the Protestant bishop of Ferns. At that time Henry Reigh was the rector and the church and chancel were ‘in repair’. The church consists of a 12 metre long nave and 7 metre long chancel. A small well lies 600metres to the south west of the graveyard, throughout the 18th and 19th centuries there was a pattern held there on the 11th of June (according to various Dúchas Schools Collection informers). There is a variety of different opinions of whom St Cavan might refer to. There is a possibility that it could refer to St Caomhán of Inisheer whose feast day is celebrated on the 14th of June. The National Monuments Service notes the pattern day as the 12th of June to complicate matters more! Regardless Kilcavan graveyard is a peaceful place to stop however this may not always have been the case as the following excerpt from the Dúchas Schools collection would attest to,

The “Pattern” or Patron is held on the first Sunday in June and relatives of those buried there visit the place and pray for them kneeling beside their graves which they decorate with flowers + with floral crosses. Women and girls usually do not delay long having ‘dressed’ the graves and prayed they return to their homes. The men however saunter about talking in twos and threes until evening. They then return to their homes to do the evenings work and then the “Pattern” is ended. It was not such a peaceful affair in old times however. Men fro the “Far” side of the Hill and the near side held their faction fights and sometimes blood flowed freely. There was a public house on the far side of the green from the graveyard and plenty of whiskey could be had there. Denis was the publican’s name. On one occasion a man was killed and a priest from Gorey forbade the pattern to be held any more and cursed the public house. Only traces of the ruined walls may be seen today. (Informer Bryan Maghuire, Cronellard, Co. Wexford School: Tara Hill (roll number 13689)

GPS: 52.26105, -6.7089

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