Church of the Assumption,Jordanstown
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Church of the Assumption,Jordanstown
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 Churches at Kilcorney and Jordanstown

Church of the Assumption, JordanstownChurch of the Assumption, Jordanstown 

It is believed locally that the site on which Jordanstown Church is built is close to an ancient religious site dating back to the time of St. Patrick.  The present church is situated in Kilcorney, which has been translated as Cill Catharnaigh meaning Catharnach’s Church.1  Information about St. Catharnach, who lived in the fifth century and is venerated on May 16, is unclear; there are various ways of spelling his name – Cairnech, Cairnigh, Carantoc and Carantech – and there are various opinions as to his birthplace.  Cairnech means the Cornishman and some say that he was the son of a British chieftain in Cornwall but others believe that he came from Wales.2  It is said that he followed St. Patrick to Ireland and he is best known for his involvement in the compilation of the Senchus Mór, or as it is otherwise known Chronicon Magnum, which amended the Brehon Laws.[3]  Under the direction of St. Patrick, he joined with eight others to form a commission comprising three kings, three bishops and three sages to legally rewrite the laws of Ireland, replacing the pagan aspects with Christian principles.[4]  It is believed that Catharnach founded a church at Kilcorney and it is thought that Kilcorney Glebe is even older than the ancient glebe at Rathcore.[5]


The presence of a more modern church at Jordanstown can be traced back as far as 1787.[6]  It is not known when this church was built, but on September 2, 1787, the Bishop of Meath, Dr. Patrick Plunket visited it and confirmed fifty-four children.[7]  When writing about this period in the 1930s, the diocesan historian Dean Anthony Cogan commented that when Dr. Plunket commenced his visitations of each parish in his diocese in 1780:

the chapels were almost without exception, wretched, miserable, mud-wall, thatched hovels, unfit to shelter the beasts of the fields.[8]

It is quite probable that this description fitted the church at Jordanstown.  Some attempt must have been made to improve it, as Dr. Plunket recorded in his diary when visiting Rathmullian (Rathmolyon) to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation in 1788, that there were two chapels repaired in the parish.[9]  One of these would have been at Kill and the other would have been the one at Jordanstown.