Historic St. Mary’s Abbey and St. Mochta’s House in our own little village.

The weather has really been lovely the past week here in Ireland. It’s been sunny, warm and dry.  I can’t ask for more than that!  As I was driving home last night, the sun setting on our local historic structures made them look even more majestic than I find them on any given day.  So I decided to capture some of that beauty today with my camera.  Of course today was overcast and the view is not exactly the same, but I find it special none the less.

We have two interesting pieces of history in our little village called Louth Village, in County Louth.  The first is St. Mary’s Abbey.  The present structure dates back to 1312 when extensive rebuilding took place after a major fire. There were apparently findings to suggest a Romanesque church building existed and was built sometime in the 12th century. There is a stone wall surrounding the Abbey and graveyard.

The second interesting piece of history is St. Mochta’s House.  This structure is one of the few remaining connections left to testify to the early existence of a monastery of Irish monks founded by St. Mochta.  St. Mochta was a disciple of St. Patrick and there are stories of many meetings between the two which took place right in our village! There is thought that the current structure was possibly built in the 9th century.  It is a two-storey building for an oratory on the ground level and sleeping quarters above.  Legend claims that it was built in one night while St. Mochta slept!  He died in 543.  The surrounding wall was built in 1906 by the Louth County Council, and conservation work on the building took place in 1934 by the Office of Public Works.  I was glad to learn that there is an active effort currently going on to continue conservation work.

As an American living in Ireland, I find the history so intriguing!  I even took a picture in the graveyard of a Monument built in 1800 which was erected simply for James Carroll and his posterity. The slab was renewed by his great grandson (James Marmion Gilmor Carroll) in 1945.  All I have to say it “neat!”.

I finished up the pictures with some views of “the green” around St. Mary’s Abbey.  It’s maintained by our local Tidy Towns group of volunteers.  They really do a great job of beautifying the area. Tidy Towns is a very successful initiative to clean up local communities to make them a better place to live, work and visit.  (for more info on Tidy Towns, click here:  http://www.tidytowns.ie/interior.php?id=2 )

I hope you enjoyed the little tour of some of my village!  I’ll have to capture some more pictures when the sun is shining!


Two signs greet visitors to the Abbey.

A view of the graveyard and St. Mary’s Abbey.

This structure is within the walls of the graveyard at the Abbey.

What is left of the Abbey.

So much history.

Another view!

Monument in the graveyard.

This picture of one of my daughters at St. Mochta’s House was taken on a bright sunny day! (what a difference!)

St. Mochta’s House in the field, next to St. Mary’s Abbey.  Below are pictures of the green around the Abbey.

If you look closely you can see the Abbey in the background.

A lovely house below, looking onto the green.

These two friendly fellows came over to say hello while I was taking pictures!

19 thoughts on “Historic St. Mary’s Abbey and St. Mochta’s House in our own little village.

  1. Hello Neighbour!!(well, sort of I live abroad). Dana, so great to see these great photos. I can remember that house on the green (with the Ivy) used to have a pair of peacocks in residence, and it really set it off!!!! Also there used to be a fair on the green sometimes (I’m talking about 30 years ago). Did you notice the ancient graffiti inside St Mochta’s? It seems the locals used to carve their names in the stones, up until about a century ago. There used to be an old celtic corner stone there. A stone with a hole carved out of it. When tribal chiefs made contracts they would shake hands through the hole. Then theses stones were used as corner stones in churches etc. I think it was removed by archeologists for safety about 10 years ago, because it used to just be laying there on the ground. Its so great to see someone really appreciating and getting feel for the history of what is today a small little village, but was a very historic place in bygone years. ‘ve logged my details, I think you get my email address with this. I don’t have twitter. All the best!!!!!!!!Thank you!!

    • Thank you so much for the wealth of local information! It is wonderful to have that personal connection! Do you come back home at all? I think it would be nice to meet up. Let me know 🙂 Dana

  2. Pingback: Brian Boru 1000 year memorial in Louth Village | Mom in the Garden

  3. Hello!
    Lovely job you’ve done, and I’m so glad I stumbled on to the website!
    I have done much work on my family and indeed my 4X great-grandfather, Nicholas Marmion, is buried in the Abbey cemetery, as well as others in the family. And the James Carroll you highlight (grave ‘renewed’ by his g-grandson) was indeed married to Anne Marmion, a daughter of the Nicholas I mention above. Per old practice, that
    is why he kept Marmion as an additional middle name, the ‘renewer’ that is.
    I live in Spain now, but often back to the Dundalk area to see relatives/friends.
    Again, congratulations!
    William F.K. Marmion
    author of: The Marmion Family in Ireland and in General, plus several articles on the family which have appeared in the Journal of the County Louth Archaelogical & Historical Society and in LECALE Review, a Journal of Down History

    • Hello William,
      How very nice of you to stop by and what a nice comment too. I love the history that “lives” right here in the village with us! It would be nice to meet you, too, if you ever have a spare moment on one of your visits. Just ask in Finnegan’s shop about “the American lady” and they’ll know me! 🙂 Thank you for adding to my look back in time! Best regards, Dana

  4. Good evening, Dana you have been very busy with your camera. The old place still looks the same. As children we used to play Cowboys. & Indians in and around the old ruins,The stone building in the Abby graveyard was known as Horans family vault ,as children we would look and see the coffins stacked up inside . We would climb the old walls and hide in the ivy. Larry Ryan who lived beside Mc Cooeys, the house with the round window, he would organise all us children into 2 teams and play soccer on the green . The big house was Mc Mahons and sometimes known as Louth house, as a boy I worked in there yard at trashing and hay baleing. My father had the Ceile Cinema down where all the new houses are now. I left the village 45 years ago next month. We were married in Louth church 46 years ago ,Rosie died 12 years ago .

    • Hi Gerry! Thank you so much for filling me in on some wonderful history! It is so nice to learn what things were like years ago, especially to learn what kids used to do for fun (and how were you not intimidated by what you saw in the graveyard?!)! It sounds like it was a wonderful community to live in. It still is, of course, but I think instead of playing soccer on the green, the kids go to the playground to play. I really appreciate you taking the time to write. I’m sorry to hear of your wife’s passing. I’m sure you know already, but the church burned down in 2003. The new church in its place is a lovely combination of new and old and is quite nice. Thanks again for writing! Take care, Dana

  5. Thank you. Lovely website. I was in the ruin yesterday 19. Jan 2018. I’m trying to find the grave of my great great great great Grandfather. He’s buried in the graveyard there somewhere but I haven’t managed to find him so far.

  6. Hi Dana.
    What a delight to come across your blog, your photos of the village brought back memories of my childhood. The village then was a hive of activity I recall the traveling shows coming to the village green, the swinging boats seem to be a great favourite for us kids. The traveling people would also entertain the village with theatrical plays. Our house no longer exists now in the village but I recall as kids playing in the old abbey and going up the mount. Highlight of an evening would be my brother and I in mcardle’s playing snakes and ladders. The mcArdle’s family owned the cinema and were also the local taxi, he was known to locals as the G man. In late summer as kids we would go blackberry picking and sell our harvest to Mrs Mc Cooley. I found out in a conversation in later years from Mrs Mc Cooley that the blackberries were for making dye for the textile market. In the early 60s I recall a traveling lady called Mrs Jackson took up residence on the green, at the corner of the lane towards the abbey, goodness knows how she survived under canvas in the bad weather. After she moved on a gentleman of the road by the name of mr Mc Cann set up camp. As kids after school we would go and visit him at his camp fire, my mum would say to us don’t be annoying Mr Mc Cann. Other highlights for us kids were the first TV set in the village, at the local store we would all gather to watch programs like the Lone Ranger. Anyway Dana all memories of a distant past, I could rant on for ever and don’t want to bore you. Just to say I wish you and your family the very best of luck. Keep safe and enjoy your life in Ireland and thank you for sharing the photos and your blog.

    • Now there’s a bit of history! Thank you so much for sharing your memories with me, PM! It is lovely to hear what it was like to live back then. I appreciate you stopping by and sharing. Take care! 🙂 Dana

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