Monastic Site at Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare
The High Crosses at Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare indicate that it was an early medieval monastic site.




View of the current church of St. John at Ballymore Eustace.

About 8 km from the town of Blessington Co. Wicklow, to the west of the N81 Blessington to Hollywood road, just over half a kilometre from the centre of the town of the Ballymore Eustace and up a short laneway is St. John’s Church (sign-posted).

The current church of St. John was built in 1820 and replaced a medieval church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary part of which can still be seen to the east of the present church.

From at least the twelfth century Ballymore was a manor and castle belonging to the Archbishop of Dublin. In the first half of the fifteenth century Sir Richard FitzEustace was appointed constable of the castle and from then the town was named after the FitzEustace family. There are no historical references to the church site but the presence of two High Crosses indicates that Ballymore was originally an Early Medieval monastic site.


View of the North Cross at Ballymore Eustace.

The cross on the northern side of the church is 3.5m high, carved from granite and set in a granite base. It has a solid disc with the short arms extending from the edges of the disc. The disc has a central boss and has roll mouldings on its outer edge. There is also a boss on the shaft. The cross has no other ornament but may originally have had painted ornament. An inscription on the cross commemorates its re-erection in 1689 by Ambrose Wall, the Sheriff of Wicklow.


View of the South Cross at Ballymore Eustace.

South-east of the Church is the second granite cross. This has been damaged and most of the ring and head are missing. There are panels indicated on the shaft and base of the cross by roll mouldings but no carvings and this cross may also have had painted ornament. Also scattered around the graveyard are eight simple cross-inscribed gravestones and a holed stone.


View of a cross-inscribed gravestone at Ballymore Eustace.

Housed in the church is the burial effigy of a sixteenth century member of the FitzEustace family which was originally at Kilcullen, as well as two baptismal fonts.

Google Maps image of the location of Ballymore Eustace.



GPS coordinates 53.131163,-6.606678

 
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