St. Anne's : Church

Grid RefO 101 214
GPSO 10147 21440 (8m)
Longitude6° 21' 1.07" W
Latitude53° 13' 54.99" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownTallaght (6 Km)
OS Sheet50
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Thursday, 16th September 2004

The walk down to this church from the road above is delightful, even in a gale. The route is inistially via an ancient sunken trackway and then down across steep fields. The churchyard looks modern, because of the wall surrounding the graveyard, but the church ruins are much older: probably 12th Century. All that remains of the structure are the foundations and one small section of wall that reaches 3m high.

A couple of things in the graveyard caught my attention. The first is a huge stone-cut font or water trough that stands just inside the gate. Sadly one side of the 1m square basin has been broken off. The second item is a pair of stones at the far end of the graveyard from the gate. These are either very early grave markers or a pair of standing stones . If the are gravestones then they are very old and quite large - one is also on the wrong alignment.

The church stands on the top of a mound in the bottom of a small side valley to the main one. The river Dodder runs past below to the west. The whole location has the sense of being very old.

There are references to the name of the church having been perverted from Kilsentan (The Church of Sentan: an early monk), which is possible, but with the rich list of associated names in the area (Maeve, the Dagda et al) I think that it is more likely to be the common renaming of Ainne or Anu the Celtic goddess.

Standing stones, also called menhirs or monoliths, are the most simple of megalithic monuments. They are exactly what they say, a stone that stands with one end set into the ground. Being simple in form does not make them simple to understand, for they have served several purposes over time. Some were placed to mark burials, others were probably erected to mark boundaries or travel routes, the purpose of others is uncertain, but it may well have been ritual.

Standing stones can vary enormously in size from a under 1m tall to over 4m. Some have been purposely shaped (see Stone Of Destiny (County Meath)) and some must have been chosen purely for their shape (see Ballyvatheen (County Kilkenny)). Most standing stones are dated to be from the Bronze Age, but some are clearly older, especially those associated with passage tombs such as at Knowth (County Meath) and Loughcrew - Corstown (County Meath).

Others have been re-used in later times (see Kilnasaggart (County Armagh) and Breastagh (County Mayo)), perhaps to try and capture some of the powers of the old gods or to legitamise a claim to land.

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About Coordinates Displayed

This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.

Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.

Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.

The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.

UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.

ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.

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