The small village of Skryne lays about seven miles south of Navan, in what is sometimes called the Tara/Skryne Valley. The more famous Hill of Tara to the West is actually not as tall as the Hill of Skryne that the village is built around.
Round about 1170, the Barony of Skryne was gifted to Adam de Feipo by the Anglo-Norman Lord Hugh de Lacy. The knight then divided the land between the members of his retinue. Now, eight hundred years later, the Dunsany family are the only remaining original recipients of their estate.
At the top of Skryne hill sits a well preserved 15th century church, known by the locals as Skryne Tower, which can be seen from almost anywhere in Co. Meath. The enormous church tower itself is thought to be from the 14th century, but it was all built on the site of the ancient monastery of Achall.
In 875 AD, Achall took the shrine and relics of St Colmcille in for safe keeping. The monastery then came to be known as Scrin Choluim Chille, or Colmcille’s shrine, which eventually became Skreen, then Skryne.
Although the monastery was raided many times between 900 AD and 1100, it did protect the shrine. The Shrine was taken once in 1027, but it was soon returned to Skryne.
Most of the tower and church building still remains, as does a large stone cross, depicting the crucifixion, to the northeast of the structure. At the foot of the tower is a pub and stables. These were featured in the well-known Guinness ‘White Christmas’ TV ads.