The Abbey of Slane, County Meath

From The Illustrated Dublin Journal, Volume 1, Number 20, January 18, 1862

AT what period the abbey of Slane was first founded is unknown. We are informed by Archdall, that an abbey of Canons Regular was founded at a very early age, on a hill adjoining the town of Slane, and was remarkable for being many years the residence of Dagobert, King of Austrasia, who, in 653, at the age of seven years, was taken by Grimoald, mayor of the palace, and, by his direction, shorn a monk, rendered unfit to hold the reins of government, and banished into Ireland. He was received into this abbey, were he obtained an edu cation proper for the enjoyment of a throne, and continued here during the space of twenty years when he was recalled into France, and replaced in his government. The ruins of the abbey at present consist of a large chapel and a lofty tower at the west end; in the latter there is a handsome ramified window. It was frequently pillaged during the prevalence of the Ostman power in Ireland , but in the year 946 the Ostmen received a signal defeat in this town, in which their chieftain, Blacar, and sixteen hundred of his best troops fell. The English, with Mac Morrogh, King of Leinster, burnt and sacked the town, A D 1170. In the time of Hugo de Lacy, first Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, Slane was a considerable town, being one of the boroughs in his palatinate of Meath.

Under the protection of the baronial family of Fleming this ancient abbey experienced a renovation of prosperity. By Sir Christopher Fleming, Lord of Slane, and Elizabeth Stuckle, his wife, it was refounded, in 1512, for friars of the third order of St Francis. The buildings were then restored, on an extensive scale, and some fresh endowments made. After the dissolution, this friary was granted to James, Lord Slane, at the annual rent of one penny, Irish money. The remains of the buildings add an interesting feature to the picturesque charms of this neighbourhood.