The Graveyard surrounding St. Patrick’s Church is likely to date back to the earliest days of the monastery and thus has probably been in continuous use over a period of about 1,500 years. The earliest recognisable grave in the graveyard today is St. Erc’s Tomb and there are many other crude unmarked headstones in the cemetery. The graveyard is owned by the local authority and burials still take place here today for families with established rights to burial. The modern graveyard serving Slane Parish, St. Erc’s Cemetery, is at the bottom of the Hill of Slane on the N2 on the northern approach to the village.
Many visitors ask about the distinctive tree growing in the graveyard. It is an araucaria araucana or monkey puzzle tree. They are native to Chile and Argentina and were first brought to Europe in Captain Cooks old ship HMS Discovery in 1795. They can live to a great age – up to 1500 years.