Ballinakill Cemetery, Killashee

The historic Ballinakill Cemetery is located about 3 km northwest of the village of Killashee. The graveyard has a number of features of interest including a church ruin, some early grave slabs, which have been mounted; and two bullaun stones for grinding grain.

The earliest grave inscription is dated 1710. Another monument of interest is the ‘bishop’s grave’, a flat stone with a cross inscribed upon it – however the identity of the bishop remains unconfirmed.

There are also some archaeological monuments in the surrounding area: to the east, a possible ecclesiastical enclosure; another enclosure on the western side; and a cross-slab in the field to the south.

Taken together, these monuments indicate the importance of the site. In fact, it has been established that Ballinakill was the location of an early Christian monastery known as Cluain Deochra.

Its patron and probable founder was St Ernan, a friend of St Colmcille, who lived in the sixth century. Ernan’s feast day is the 11th January. Among the entries on Cluain Deochra in the Annals of the Four Masters is one for 765 AD which notes the death of its abbot, Conmac.

Another, for the year 977 records the death of Bishop Flann Mulvihill, who was lector of Clonmacnois and bishop of Cluain Deochra.

The burial ground is open to the public

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