Loughcrew Historic Gardens, County Meath

Loughcrew Historic Gardens, County Meath

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Loughcrew is rich in historical, archaeological, religious and natural interest. One of ancient Ireland's major roads passes through Loughcrew, crossing the great Road of the Chariots nearby. The lakes abound with cranógs and the drumlins are topped with innumerable motte and bailey forts. The Loughcrew Cairns (prehistoric passage graves), some 5,000 years old, are perhaps the oldest calendar known, and may even be the world's oldest existing dwellings.

 
The heartland of Loughcrew belonged to the Plunkett family. St. Oliver Plunkett, Ireland's most recent saint, was born and reared here. His heroic defence of the Faith as Archbishop of Armagh led to his martyrdom and recent canonisation. His family church still stands in Loughcrew and is the focus of devotion to St. Oliver. The oldest part of the church building was formerly a Tower House, the seat of the Plunketts until Sir William Petty installed his brother-in-law, William Naper, in about 1655.
 
The magnificent c19 gate was created for the altered entrance from the Pleasure Gardens into the Walled Garden. The entrance was probably altered to accommodate the neoclassical pillars and arch which are believed originally to have framed the entrance to the c17 longhouse. If this is the case, then this stone frame is the only surviving remnant of the c17 Longhouse, except the foundations. Perhaps the superstructure was used in the foundations of the 1823 Loughcrew House nearby.

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