Supriya Ghosh

Durrow, County Offaly

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Country  Ireland
Time zone  WET (UTC+0)
Area code  057
County  Offaly
Elevation  77 m
Province  Leinster
Durrow, County Offaly
Website  www.offaly.ie/offalynet/daingean.asp
Weather  8°C, Wind SW at 11 km/h, 90% Humidity

Durrow (Irish: Darú) (meaning 'plain of the oaks') is a small rural village in County Offaly, Ireland. Durrow is located on the N52 off the N6 road between Kilbeggan (in County Westmeath) and Tullamore (in County Offaly).

Contents

Durrow Abbey, surrounded by woods, is one of Ireland's most important early Christian monasteries founded by Saint Colmcille. Many mistakenly assign County Laois as the location of this particular monastic settlement due to the presence of a larger town in Laois called Durrow.

Monastery

Iona was established in exile and during that time Colum Cille yearned for monasteries in Ireland. The poem 'An Exile's Dream' specifically indicates Durrow as location for a monastery. Durrow was then part of the territory of Tethba, which now lies mostly in Co. Longford. It was also located near one of Ireland's five ancient routes, Slighe Mór. However, no accounts survive of what Colum Cille's monastery was like at its foundation, but it probably included a wooden church and huts for residence and work for the monks. The great monastic enclosure of Durrow can be seen in the aerial photographs of the surrounding lands. South of the monastery is evidence of Early Christian burials, unearthed by excavation of burial mounds by the National Museum of Ireland.

Control

Patronage shifted during the millennium that followed the monastery's establishment. The Kings of Meath, Kings of Tethba and the MacGeoghegans, as well as chieftains known as Cinél Fiachach supported the monastery. This support did not permit them to appoint it abbot, who was selected from Colum Cille's own extended family at the start. Later rule of the Columban monasteries would be dominated by certain families who became hereditary rulers forming ecclesiastical dynasties.

Uí Neill association was also important and in 763 Domnall, King of Meath, was buried in the graveyard of Durrow. In 764 a war was fought with Clonmacnoise over burial rights, particularly the burial site of future Kings of Meath.

References

Durrow, County Offaly Wikipedia


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