The ‘Dragon’ at Loughcrew Cairns

After our lovely stay at the cottage near Newcastle and the beautiful Mourne Mountains, we once again ‘packed our bags’ and found ourselves ‘on the road’ again and travelling towards a new destination. The previous four days had been amazing with lots of adventures and new knowledge attained. Lots to digest and plenty to think about for sure, in the coming weeks….

Day Four: Sat 3rd July: Roscommon Castle. Roscommon. Traveling around Ireland on the way to different destinations, one is struck by all the colour and beauty of Ireland’s urban art and it’s stunning roadside sculptures, often reflecting the area in which they are situated. Here below are two pieces of art shot on the way to Roscommon, but one has to be quick to capture them!


Roscommon (Irish: Ros Comáin, meaning ‘Saint Coman’s wood’) is the county town and the largest town in County Roscommon, roughly in the centre of Ireland. The name Roscommon is derived from Coman mac Faelchon who built a monastery there in the 5th century. The woods near the monastery became known as Ros Comáin (St. Coman’s Wood). This was later anglicised to Roscommon. Its population at the 2016 census was 5,876. Roscommon was the homeland of the Connachta and of such surnames such as Ó Conchobhair, Mac Diarmada, Ó Ceallaigh, Ó Birn, Mac Donnchadha and Brennan (see the link for full details) The town is the location of a notable archaeological find in 1945 when a lunula, a gold necklace, and two discs were discovered. Both items are dated to the period 2300 and 1800 BC.

Roscommon Castle is located on a hillside just outside the town, in a very pretty park complete with lake, for folks to enjoy. The day we were there, a very talented young lady was practising her ‘circus skills’ beside the lake. Now in ruins, the castle is quadrangular in shape, it had four corner D-shaped towers, three storeys high, and twin towers at its entrance gateway, one of which still retains its immensely sturdy vaulted roof. The entire castle was enclosed by a lofty curtain wall. It was built in 1269 by Robert de Ufford, Justiciar of Ireland, on lands he had seized from the Augustinian Priory. The castle has had a most interesting and chequered history. It was besieged by Connacht King Aodh Ó Conchobhair in 1272. Eight years later it was again in the hands of an English garrison, and fully repaired. By 1340 the O’Connor’s regained possession of it, and, except for a few brief intermissions, they held it for two centuries until 1569, when Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Deputy, seized it. It was granted to Sir Nicholas Malbie, Elizabethan Governor of Connaught in 1578. Two years later the interior was remodelled and large mullioned windows were inserted in the towers and curtain walls. Again, in 1641 the  Parliamentarian faction gained it until Confederate Catholics, under Preston captured it in 1645. It remained in Irish hands until 1652 when it was partially blown up by Cromwellian ‘Ironsides’ under Commissary Reynolds, who had all the fortifications dismantled. It was finally burned down in 1690, and, from the closing years of the 17th-century, it gradually fell into decay. A symmetrical moat some distance from the curtain walls surrounded the entire castle and safeguarded it.

The castle is now a national monument; take a look at the photos here <click on each photo to enlarge>

Grail Bloodline Connection:

  • John Fordham 1823-1895 Collooney, Sligo) Had a particular interest in the castle here. (4 x GGF)

War Memorial: Not a part of our quest as such, but very much a big part of the history of the area we were travelling through. We came across this memorial to ‘the troubles‘ as we were driving along a quiet, windswept and rainy road not far from Roscommon, so included it for its historical context with this whole area of Ireland…

Day Five: Sun 4th July: Kells Round Tower. Kells: Kells is a town in  County Meath, Ireland, 10 miles from Navan and 40 miles from Dublin. It is best known as the site of Kells Abbey, from which the Book of Kells takes its name. The settlement was originally known by the Irish name Ceannanas or Ceannanus, and it is suggested that the name ‘Kells’ developed from this. In 1929, Ceannanus Mór was made the town’s official name in both Irish and English. Following the creation of the Irish Free State, a number of towns were renamed likewise. Ceanannas has been the official Irish-language form of the place name since 1969. In 1993, Kells was re-adopted as the town’s official name in English.,_County_Meath

Kells was founded as a monastic settlement by Saint Columba c. 550 on land that had been gifted to him by the King of Tara – Diarmait mac Cerbaill. Columba was exiled after the Battle of Cul Dreimhne (AD 561). The Abbey of Kells was refounded in the early 9th century by monks from Iona. The high crosses were erected in the 9th/10th century and the round tower in the 10th century. Like most round towers, it has lost its cap, possibly due to lightning strikes. The tower stands 85 ft high. The doorway originally stood about 12 ft above ground level and was reached by wooden steps or a ladder. Most round towers have four windows on the top level, one for each cardinal direction, but Kells has five, supposedly one facing each road into the town and each town gate.

There are five high crosses:

  • Cross of St Patrick and St Columba (South Cross): the earliest cross, erected in the 9th century. Carved scenes include Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel.
  • West Cross (Ruined Cross): Adam and Eve, entry into the promised land, Baptism of Jesus. Supposedly the cross was damaged by soldiers of Oliver Cromwell.
  • East Cross (Unfinished Cross): incomplete; it gives an insight into how crosses were carved, with the details being added on site.
  • Market Cross: 11.0 ft: as well as religious scenes, there is depicted a deer hunt, birds, animals and centaurs.
  • North Cross: only the base remains.

Kells Tower or St Columba Tower and the high crosses; I am unsure if i have all of the actual ‘high crosses’ captured here but they are all from the burial ground and monastic site around the tower; from whence the Book of Kells takes it’s name. Sadly the Book of Kells (also known as the Book of Columba) is no longer there and currently resides in Dublin. The monks there were said to have had a metaphysical connection to G-d…

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  •  King Diarmait Mac Carbaill 523-565 AD ‘Last King to Tara’ (42 years) (43 x GGF)

St Columbus Church: Kells. Sadly we could not gain access, as the church was well and truly locked, strange for such an important site, but maybe it was because of covid, so we had a stroll around outside and took plenty of good photos. St Columba’s Church and Grounds mark the original site of the Monastary of Kells. St. Columba’s Church stands on one of the most important Church sites in Co. Meath. According to the ‘Book of Lismore’, King Diarmait or Dermot, High King of Ireland granted to Columba the Dun or Fort of Kells to establish a Religious Community. The ‘Annals of Ulster’ for the year 804CE show that the Columban community on the island of Iona transferred to Kells which then became the principal Irish Columban monastery. In 918, the monastery was plundered and the Church destroyed. In 1117, the Abbot and Community were killed in a raid by Aedh Ua Ruairc.

St Columba’s stands on the site of an earlier Mediaeval church, which lay in partial ruins and was restored in 1578. The sole remnant of the   church is the Bell Tower. The mediaeval church continued to be used, in whole or part, until the present church was built in 1778, altered in 1811 and altered again in 1858. The exterior is plain but not so the interior, which is rich Victorian Gothic. The stained glass is particularly noteworthy. In the old baptistry stands a facsimile of the Book of Kells. Following the Synod of Kells in 1152, Kells was granted Diocesan status and the old Church was elevated to the status of a Cathedral for the Diocese. In the early 13th. century the Diocese of Kells was absorbed into the newly created Diocese of Meath. The Church was altered in 1811, and again, in 1858, when the interior was re-ordered. In more recent times the Church roof was restored in 1965 and the interior re-decorated.

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • King Diarmait Mac Carbaill 523-565 AD ‘Last King to Tara’ (42 years) (43 x GGF)

Loughcrew Cairns: County Meath: Loughcrew or Lough Crew (Irish: Loch Craobh, meaning ‘lake of the tree’) is an area of historical importance near Oldcastle, County Meath, It is home to a group of ancient tombs from the 4th millennium, some decorated with rare megalithic art, which sit on top of a range of hills. The hills and tombs are together known as Slieve na Calliagh, (Sliabh na Caillí) and are the highest point in Meath. It is one of the four main passage tomb cemeteries in Ireland and is a protected National Monument and home to the Loughcrew Estate, from which it is named.


The stunningly beautiful area of the cairns – what a climb but well worth it! <click to enlarge>

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • King Irial Faidh (d.1671) 89 x GGF

The churches and sites visited on our mighty quests may at first appear to be random and often very out of the way, but of course by now we all know, if following the quests, that it is not the actual buldings we are visiting (important though they are for the clues they show us) but it is the reason why they were built where they were built in the very first place and as mentioned in that very first quest video we made, all those years ago now as ‘The Priory.’

‘as below, so above…’


“The Keeper of Scrolls” 27th October 2021