About Duleek Faith Community

St Cianan’s Duleek

It is believed that St. Cianan established a stone Church here, reputedly the first stone Church in Ireland.  The very name Duleek is derived from the Irish Damhliag Chianian, meaning “The Stone House of Cianan”.

Duleek is listed in the annals of Ulster as one of the four largest Monastic communities in Ireland ranking in size with Armagh, Derry and Clonmacnoise.

At the synod of Rathbrassil in 1111, the territory of Meath was divided into two dioceses, Clonard and Duleek.

The synod of Kells in 1152 formed the diocese that roughly survives today, by uniting the bishoprics of Clonard, Kells and Duleek. The diocesan crest bears three mitres, representing these three ancient bishoprics.

A Titular Bishopric of Duleek exists to this day. The current Titular Bishopric is the retired auxiliary Bishop of San Bernardino in California, Rutilio del Riego Janez.

Duleek Abbey

In its first seven centuries of existence, the Abbey at Duleek had both Abbots and Bishops.

Two high crosses, similar in style to those at Monasterboice, and a very old grave stone, within the present ruins, are all that remain of the ancient Abbey.  The North Cross is circa 10th century and there is clear evidence that the thirteenth century square tower that stands in the Abbey grounds was built against an early round tower which later crumbled.

The body of Brian Boru is reputed to have lain in state in Duleek Abbey on its way to Armagh indicating the importance of this foundation over several centuries.

St. Mary's Abbey

The Canons regular of Saint Augustine were introduced in Duleek in the mid-twelfth century.  They may have reorganised the original Abbey (Duleek Abbey) and dedicated it to the Blessed Virgin.

The ruins dating from this era onwards are known as St. Mary’s Abbey.  For a time two Augustinian foundations existed in the village and two distinct parishes, Duleek and Duleek Abbey, emerged.

The dissolution of the Monasteries resulted in the closure of both establishments in 1537, although there is evidence that they continued to be used after this.

St. Cianan's Church Now

The present Church of St. Cianan was built by Rev. John Kearney in 1812 and was repaired and extended in 1966 under Fr. Ryan.

The successor to Fr. Kearney, Fr Logan was Parish Priest of Duleek and co-adjutor Bishop of Meath for a period.

Local Folklore

Tradition has it that St. Patrick gave Cianan his personal book of the Gospels and that Cianan was the first Bishop ordained by Patrick.

The body of Brian Boru is reputed to have lain in state in Duleek Abbey on its way to Armagh indicating the importance of this foundation over several centuries.

Duleek Parish