Dunleckny – Dún Leicne – Fort
of the Hill Side
Church of Ireland church
The churchyard at Dunleckny contains
the ivy-covered ruins of two churches. The detached three-bay,
Church of Ireland was built in the late eighteenth but
abandoned in the early nineteenth century when services were
transferred to St Mary’s Church, Bagenalstown. The ruin to the
right, now almost completely covered with ivy is of a much
older church. At the beginning of the thirteenth century this
church was granted to the nunnery of Graney. The present
remains consist of a rectangular structure which is probably
medieval in date.
In the older church is a plaque to
the memory of two eighteenth-century parish priests. It was
erected by Fr. Michael Pendergast in 1810 and commemorates his
uncle and grand-uncle, both, like himself, priests of
Dunleckny. This reveals a typical tradition of priesthood
within Irish families.
The burial ground around the church
contains many interesting gravestones. There is also a private
graveyard for the Bagenals and Veseys of Dunleckney Manor.
Walter Bagenal founded the nearby town of Bagenalstown in the
1700s. He had visions of mirroring the city of Versailles in
northern France and built a grand courthouse and some public
buildings. Shortly after his efforts were frustrated by the
re-routing of the coach road away from the town. His
courthouse is now the town library.