History Of Slane


St. Patrick and the Hill of Slane 

In the fifth century AD Saint Patrick came to the Hill of Slane in County Meath in an early attempt to convert pagan Ireland to Christianity. On the eve of the Christian feast of Easter, 433 AD which coincides with the Druid feast of Bealtine (Beal's Fire) and the Spring Equinox, St. Patrick lit a bonfire upon the Hill of Slane.

There was a law that no fire should be lit in the vicinity when the great festival of Bealtine blazed at the Royal seat of power on the visible nearby the Hill of Tara. The lighting of a fire seems trivial to us but at that time it was equivalent to declaring war on the Druids and their pagan beliefs and also on the King of Ireland.

That small act of starting a fire was a turning point in St. Patrick's life and in the history of Tara and all Ireland. Patrick lit the Easter fire contrary to the Druidic law, and changed the spiritual landscape of Ireland forever. 

Our school logo is the fire on the Hill of Slane with the words "Coinnigh an Solas ar Lasadh" -' Keep The Light Burning'. We in St. Patrick's N.S. aim to pass on the light of faith to our pupils. 

Brú na Bóinne Newgrange World Heritage Site 

Brú na Bóinne, which is located in the parish of Slane is a world heritage site and is the largest and one of the most important complex of megalithic sites in Europe. The complex is situated around a wide bend in the river Boyne. 

The site is a complex of Neolithic mounds, tombs, standing stones, henges and other enclosures. The site predates the Egyptian pyramids and was built with sophistication and a knowledge of science and astronomy, which is most evident in the passage grave in Newgrange. The winter solstice in Newgrange, where the light passes through the tomb, attracts people from all over the world annually. Pupils from Slane N.S. help choose the visitors at an annual draw in Brú na Bóinne.

Francis Ledwidge Cottage 

Francis Ledwidge (19 August 1887 – 31 July 1917) was an Irish war poet. He was a talented writer from a young age and worked in Slane Castle before coming under the patronage of Lord Dunsany, who helped him reach a wide audience for his poetry.

Ledwidge was a keen political activist and in 1914, he enlisted in the British army for World War I. He fought in Gallipoli and Serbia. He returned home to Slane before resuming duty near the village of Boezinghe northwest of Ieper (Ypres), where he was killed by an exploding mortar shell.  He is known as the "poet of the blackbirds".

The Francis Ledwidge cottage is situated on the Drogheda road outside Slane. The museum is the cottage birthplace of World War I poet. It is a perfect example of a 19th century farm labourer's cottage and was purchased and restored by the Francis Ledwidge Museum Committee in 1981.

 Dr Benedict Kiely opened it as a museum in June 1982. It houses the poet's works and artefacts from World War I, alongside memorabilia of the period.

For further information, check out http://www.francisledwidge.com/

Slane Castle

The first occupants of Slane Castle were an Anglo Norman family called the Flemings but after the Williamite wars in 1611 the castle was purchased by the Conyngham’s a noble Scottish family.

The castle was restructured in 1785 and dramatic gothic gates were added. In 1821 the castle was the location for a famous romance between Elizabeth, 1st Marchioness Conyngham and King George IV and it was said that is the reason why there is such a straight road between Dublin and the castle.

In 1991 the castle was subject to extensive damage caused by a fire which broke out on the eastern side and totally gutted the whole area. The family then spent the next ten years on the castle’s restoration.

The castle has been one of the venues for the ‘Festival in Great Irish Houses’. The open air concerts below the castle have featured famous artists including U2, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Queen and Madonna.

For further information, check out http://www.slanecastle.ie/