Exploring the archaeology, landscape and history of Slane, Co. Meath

St. Erc’s Tomb

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Gable-shaped shrine reputedly the burial place of St. Erc, the founder of the monastery at Slane.

Standing several metres from the church’s S doorway, this feature is regarded as being the burial place of St Erc. It is comprised of two triangular stones, each c. 1.5m high, set c. 2m apart. The grooves cut into the edges of the stones may have accommodated large closing slabs. These shrines, known on monastic sites predominantly in the west of Ireland contained disarticulated human remains of a saint, would have been a focus for devotion at a very early stage of the church’s development. According to tradition, coffins were carried around the graveyard enclosure three times before being set down at this tomb before burial. Other ancient graveslabs found in the graveyard include a medieval slab, illustrated by Westropp, which has since disappeared.

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