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

The Graveyard

The Graveyard and church.

The Graveyard and church.

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.

The inscriptions on the graveslabs have been recorded and are available online here: surnames A to L and here: surnames M to Z).

Kite aerial photography; oblique photograph taken from the east showing St Patrick’s church and graveyard and the College/rectory which were scanned in the terrestrial laser scanning module. (photo: Asia Balcerzak/Michal Pisz)

Kite aerial photography; oblique photograph taken from the east showing St Patrick’s church and graveyard and the College/rectory which were scanned in the terrestrial laser scanning module. (photo: Asia Balcerzak/Michal Pisz)