Swords Abbey

This beautiful church and round tower is where Brian Boru and his son Murrough were brought on their way to their final resting place in Armagh. Just hours after their deaths they were carried to this site and laid out and waked by the monks. His other son Donough who returned from raids in Leinster to the battle site the following day joined the ceremony. It is probable that his grandson Turlough was also laid out here.

Swords was located in Fingal, capital of the Danes, from 'finnghall', a term meaning fair foreigners. Legend has it that a standard of the defeated Danes, bearing the symbol of the raven was flown at the wake. The symbol of the Raven was common in Norse culture and signified death and war. Norse legend recounts how the bearer of the banner met his death facing Brian Boru or Kerthialfad at the Battle of Clontarf.

The round tower dates from the first monastic settlement founded by St. Columba in the 6th century. The other buildings here date from the 14th century (the tower) to 18th centuries (St Columba's Church 1818). As with many of the monasteries near Dublin, a long and violent period of burning, pillaging and destruction by Irish and Vikings were recorded over several centuries.

Photograph courtesy of Jim Dempsey at megalithicireland.com