Along Drumlease Road
“Patrick went out to the regions of the Callraige Trí Maige and built a church at Drumlease and baptised many.”
Patrick “exiit ad regiones Callriigi Tre Maige et fecit aeclessiam iuxta Druim Leas et babtitzauit multos “.
In the present day area of Dromahair called Drumlease you will find a protected, large Rath or Lios behind the Church of Ireland ( built 1806) . Droma Lios, from the study mentioned below was also called Droim Dara , the ridge of the oaks.
Travelling further on up Drumlease road, at the end of a laneway to the left on the higher ground, is the ruin of the original pre-reformation church and its overgrown graveyard. To the right of the main road in fields bordering the river are no less than 7 smaller circular earth formations, thought to be traces of the early Christian community. North past Kilaleen Lough towards Lough Nahoo are abandoned roads and other raths, 5 in a cluster not far from an old road skirting the south end of the Lough. These are clearly marked on the early maps and remains may be seen today.
Other local place names are mentioned in the study of an early book mentioned below including Conaghil, Killaleen Lough, Sheskin-Corrataway .
In both Irish and Latin additions to one of the earliest of Irish sacred books, The Book of Armagh, the existence of a Christian community in Droma Lios is described by two of its early chroniclers Muirchi and Tirechán . We cannot be sure if the legendary St. Patrick visited Drumlease , the oldest Christian parish name for Dromahair, however in the 2001 Breifni Journal article Early Irish Church organisation – The case of Drumlease and The Book of Armagh by Colmán Etchingham and Catherine Swift, the authors discuss the evidence extensively.
Muirchi’s and Tírechán’s accounts are not simply made up, however. Rather, they seem to draw on existing local traditions about the conversion-period and about Patrick. It may never be possible to determine how far Muirchi and Tirechán embellished such traditions as they had available to them, to suit their propagandist, hagiographical purpose of promoting the cult of Patrick.
It is clear, however, that, by the later seventh century, Drumlease could be credibly portrayed as a Patrician foundation……Moreover, the foundation of Drumlease is associated by Tirechán with a mass-baptism of the local people by Patrick.
Further, the authors propose that Drumlease/Dromahair was an important regional centre ( of the combined Calry kingdoms ) and explain their reasoning based on the historical evidence:
“If Patrick is described in summary form as coming to various districts simultaneously, it seems reasonable to assume that he is coming to the area seen as the political centre of those districts.
Similarly, when Tírechán says that Patrick came to regiones Calrigi Tre Maige to Drumlease and there babtitzauit multos, the contexts in which he uses this phrase indicate that Drumlease is probably to be seen as the political as well as the ecclesiastical centre of this tripartite kingdom.
On analogy with the other political centres which he describes, we may further postulate that the site of Drumlease is likely to have included an area for high-ranking burial, some form of dwelling place associated with the leading dynasty, a well and possibly some evidence for prehistoric activity “
Here you will find the Reformatted ocr copy (work in progress), and the original here .
The Book of Armagh
Illumination and Calligraphy
Link to Trinity Manuscript page : https://www.confessio.ie/manuscripts/dublincodex#38