Ancient Skerries is all around us
Lecture by Christine Baker
(Skerries Historical Society Meeting – 12th February 2013)
The Priory of Holmpatrick has its origins in the foundation of a monastery in the sixth century on the island of St Patrick. In 1220 the monastery was moved to the mainland ‘to a more commodious site’. The new location although now on the mainland was situated on high ground surrounded by sea and river, retaining its island characteristic, also reflected in its placename – Holm is the Norse word for island.
In 1605 the priory was described as having a stone house with tiles and turrets as well as halls, barns and stables within a three acre precinct. Evidence of the church can be seen in the upper tier of the graveyard beside the 1702 bell tower. Medieval floor tiles comparable to those found in Swords Castle and St Patrick’s Cathedral have been recovered as have roof and slate tiles indicating that it was of high status.
Examination of 18th and 19th maps shows that the brook which flows by the mill was joined by another river around the entrance to Skerries Mills which flowed out to the sea at what is now the rugby club. No doubt this is the reason why Miller’s Lane floods.
Although the priory and manor of Holmpatrick contained an estimated 1000 acres of land, there are few references to it over 300 years. Archaeological evidence shows a huge richness in the lands belonging to the priory dating from prehistory to the present.
Christine Baker is the author of ‘The Archaeology of Killeen Castle” and “Antiquities of Old Fingal’.
Page updated – 23 / 2 / 2014
Report by George Hand