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Photographer's Note

Pictured here is a view over part of the Boyne Valley between the towns of Navan and Slane.

The photo is taken from the cemetery at Ardmulchen Church which looks over the valley. The valley is flooded due to exceptionally heavy rains in the February storms Ireland has seen this year.

At this place can be found a ruined church consisting of a belfry and church building measuring 78 feet long. This is situated in an ancient graveyard, and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. The church was built in the 12th century, and the last mass was celebrated here in 1613.

Its position high on Ardmulchan hill offers beautiful views over the nearby River Boyne, and down through the Boyne Valley. The cemetery features some unusual memorials including a rare trapezoidal tomb with a highly ornate cross. When taking this shot, the cemetery and church is directly behind me, and the tallest monuments have a view the same as we see in this picture.

A historical journal known as the Annals of the Four Masters records that in 968 a battle took place here between the King of Dublin, Olaf Cuaran and the O Neills. The Dublin Norsemen won this battle.

As well as the church and cemetery filled with unusual stones, this area is littered with items of historical interest. The area is home to numerous megalithic tombs, ring forts and fortified medieval buildings.

On the right side of the frame can be seen the ruins of Dunmoe Castle. This was built in the 15th century and was the home of the D'Arcy family. It was attacked from the other side of the river in 1649 by Cromwell, but no major damage was caused to the structure. However, a fire in the late 18th century detroyed a large part of the building, leaving only what we can see today.

The remains today are predominantly one side wall of the original 4 sided castle which is impressive in its 4 story height, and its positioning at the top of a steep hill which makes it look even taller than it is. Standing by the river and looking back up at the castle presents a formidable view of this old structure.

Also in the grounds of the castle are the ruined church and the cemetery of the D'Arcy family, which is also today in ruins. The church is accessible, and inside one of the dark chambers is a trapdoor leading to a crypt.

Around the crypt there are a few headstones of other owners. Very interesting is the skull and the cross bones under it (Jolly Roger), once a sign of pirates. No connection has ever been made between piracy and the D'Arcy family.
A close up view of the castle and ruins of the church are here :

http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Europe/Ireland/North/Meath/photo1368239.htm

Thanks for looking!

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2465 W: 12 N: 5770] (20073)
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