A mere three miles or so from Navan, on a bend of the River Boyne, is the land known as Ardmulchan. Sometime in the 12th century, Hugh de Lancy had a motte built to keep the Boyne defensible. Around the fortification, several chapels and a church were built, some on existing ancient foundations.
What remains of Ardmulchan Church sits on the raised motte overlooking the river. The ruins mostly comprise of the square bell tower of the west end of the Church and the graveyard. The ground floor of the tower is intact and the roof still has three holes for the bell ropes to fall through. The Church is believed to have been built in the 1500s and there are records of mass being held there as late as 1613.
From its vantage point, Ardmulchan Church offers some remarkable views of the surrounding countryside. It is possible to see the ruins of Dunmoe Castle, the round tower of Donaghmore, and parts of Slane Abbey can all be seen across the valley.
The hill site of Ardmulchan Church is said to have been the site of a battle between the Norse King of Dublin, Olaf Cuaran, and the O’Neills, as the Norsemen were returning from raiding Kells, in 968. After being attacked by the O’Neills, the Norsemen dug in and managed to rout their foes and return home.
It is the lingering taste of ancient battles, old religion and the enormous history that must be what keeps bringing visitors back to spots like Ardmulchan Church in the Boyne Valley. The sense of heritage simply can not be ignored.