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Killiney History | July 16, 2024

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Refurbishment works at Killiney Ancient Church – Cill Iníon Léinín

Refurbishment works at Killiney Ancient Church – Cill Iníon Léinín
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2024 | author

Refurbishment works – a partnership between the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Ireland’s National Monuments Service

In June 2024, the Australian Ambassador to Ireland, the Hon Gary Gray and members of Killiney’s local community took the opportunity to show members of the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) and Minister of State for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan TD the completed repair works at Killiney’s ancient church and burial ground, Cill Iníon Léinín, after which Killiney is named. Ambassador Gray was joined by Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Heritage, Denis O’Callaghan, Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Deirdre Black, DLRCC’s Heritage Officer and members of the Killiney community Brian McBryan and Catherine Beatty.

“Many of the residents who maintain this ancient churchyard and burial ground live locally, as we do”, explained Ambassador Gray, whose residence is owned by the Australian Government and is a neighbour to the ancient site. “It’s thanks to the commitment of a small voluntary committee of Killiney locals, represented by current chairman Brian McBryan, that this important heritage site is maintained to such a high standard and a source of pride for the local community”, Ambassador Gray said. “We were concerned there could be a safety incident with the boundary wall falling into disrepair”, Brian McBryan explained, “so we alerted the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council about this.”

In heritage matters such as this, the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council works in collaboration with the National Monuments Service. Together, these two tiers of Government completed an assessment of requirements to repair the wall surrounding the ancient site in collaboration with Ireland’s Chief Archaeologist. Once a plan was agreed, the DLRCC applied for funding for repair works from the Community Monuments Fund and works to repair the wall commenced in March 2024.

The ornate gothic arch and a section of the boundary wall was dismantled stone by stone, after each stone was carefully numbered by the skilled stonemasons. A trench was excavated to sink a concrete foundation for the repaired wall, and the wall was re-assembled stone by stone. The lime-mortar used in the original wall was analysed by the archaeological team and replicated in the repaired wall. Over the years, the tiered ornamentation on top of the gothic arch had been lost due to erosion and encroachment of ivy. The tiered structure of the arch has now been rebuilt, so that it resembles the original structure.

Minister Noonan is delighted with the outcome. “Ireland is indeed blessed in terms of archaeological heritage, and Killiney’s medieval ecclesiastical site after which the suburb is named, is no exception. Our Community Monuments Fund was launched in 2020 and is aimed at specifically supporting local communities in the care of their local heritage, and I’m delighted that here is another example of just that. Over €19 million has been invested over the last four years, ensuring that irreplaceable heritage is cared for and celebrated by communities all over Ireland. Killiney’s local community can once again visit and enjoy this special place and we look forward to the annual community event held in the ancient grounds”.

The annual community event has not been held since 2019, due to concerns about the wall, and previously due to the Covid pandemic. Over the coming 2024 Summer, it is planned to restore the grounds to their former condition, and to hold an opening event towards the end of Summer.

Read our detailed article on the history of Cill Iníon Léinín HERE

Inspecting the newly refurbished wall surrounding Killiney’s ancient church and burial ground Cill Iníon Léinín. L to R: Brian McBryan, Killiney local; Deirdre Black, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Heritage Officer; Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Heritage and Denis O’Callaghan, Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. Photo credit: Kevin Owens
Access to Killiney’s ancient church and burial ground, Cill Iníon Léinín is via a key which visitors will be able to borrow again at Killiney DART station cafe, when the site fully re-opens later in the Summer. Photo credit: Kevin Owens.
L to R: Brian McBryan, Killiney local and Denis O’Callaghan, Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, in the grounds of Cill Iníon Léinín, Killiney ancient church and burial ground. Photo credit: Kevin Owens.
L to R: Brian McBryan, Killiney local with Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Heritage, observing the cross carved in the lintel of the entrance doorway to the 11th century Cill Iníon Léinín church. Photo credit: Kevin Owens.
Inside the 11th century Cill Iníon Léinín ancient church, L to R: Fergal Condon; Deirdre Black, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Heritage Officer; Catherine Beatty; Denis O’Callaghan, Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council; Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Heritage; Brian McBryan and the Hon Gary Gray AO, Australian Ambassador to Ireland. Photo credit: Kevin Owens.

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