Hello and welcome to this weekend virtual walk.
The smallest county in Ireland is County Louth that is located in the north east corner of Ireland, and although Dundalk is the largest town the little village of Louth about 20 miles away gives its name to the county .
Often overlooked this pretty village is worth a visit, so come along with me today for a short stroll.
Let’s park the car at the village green and have a look around. Louth has a population of a little over 700 and it’s first inhabitants can be traced back to a motte and bailey castle that overlooks the village – also known as the Fairy Mound that is the highest point in the village.
I love how the locals have tended the village green and you can image the hustle and bustle of a fair day here many years ago.
We head up the grassy lane to the ruins of St. Marys monastery that has stood here for centuries . Originally part of the monastery was founded here in the 6th Century and in fact what we see can be dated back to the 1300’s after a fire in 1312 . Much of the stonework is in the Romanesque style, suggesting the original construction comes from the 1100’s , but as records are scarce who knows ?? We do know however that it was mainly destroyed during the reign of Henry VIII in 1535 and has remained in ruins since that time.
We can see that it’s now used as a graveyard, what a peaceful place – I can see swallows overhead and for sure they are building nests in the ancient masonry.
Nearby, standing alone in the middle of a field of barley is an amazing site – the perfectly renovated St. Mochda’s house. A sign nearby says that when the original monastery was founded here by Saint Mochda in the 6th Century, this building is thought to have been built as a shrine house in which the relics of the saint were housed. It contains one of the oldest stone vaulted ceilings in Ireland and has a little attic room where it’s thought a guardian may have lived.
We can’t walk out to get a closer look as the barley stands nearly waist high , but I think that you will agree that it’s an amazing sight to see such a perfect little building standing on its own !