This hilltop was occupied by one of Ulster’s most important early churches and scholarly centres, associated with the 6th-century St Finnian. Excavation prior to housing development north of the church showed that the early community was large and hard-working. Remains of thousands of pots, metal-working debris and glass work remains were found. Plundered by Vikings in 824, it was refounded in the 12th century as an abbey of Augustinian Canons dedicated to St Malachy, and survived until the suppression of religious houses in the 1540s. One stone only survives from the pre-Norman period: a slab with a sharply-cut ringed cross and an inscription asking for a prayer for Dertrend, or do Dertrend. The ruined church is long and narrow, its south wall largely lacking and north wall much rebuilt. It is partly 13th and partly 15th century in date. The altered east window has plain intersecting tracery, later blocked, incorporating an earlier, small, semi-circular-headed window. In the west gable is a two-light transomed 15th century window with carved decoration. The 13th century coffin-lids which had been built into the modern section of the north wall have been temporarily removed from site for conservation.
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