Kells, Ireland Tourist Attractions
Kells (Ceanannus Mor, "Great Residence") lies in the wooded valley of the Blackwater 25mi/40km inland from the Irish east coast, at the intersection of the N3 and N52.A monastic settlement was established here by St Columba in the sixth century, and in the ninth century monks from Iona, driven out by Viking raids, sought refuge at Kells. In later centuries the settlement was several times plundered and subsequently restored. The town was fortified by the Anglo-Normans and maintained its importance until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1551.
St Columba's House
To the northwest of South Cross, beyond Church Lane, is St Columba's House (National Monument), an oratory with a steeply pitched stone roof (probably 10th C.). The interior measures 24x21ft/7.2x6.3m, with walls more than 4ft/1.2m thick which incline inwards until they meet in a ridge. The wall of an upper chamber under the roof (entered on a steep ladder) serves to support the roof. The entrance was originally 6.5ft/2m above the ground.
Besides the South Cross, Cross Street in Kells has another high cross, the Market Cross (National Monument), carved with Biblical scenes similar to those on the South Cross.
The surroundings of Kells have much to offer the visitor.
The estate of Headford, on the northeast side of the town of Kells, has a handsome Georgian manor house (1770), now occupied by a school.
Hill of Loyd
From Kells the N3 runs northwest towards Virginia. Just outside the town, on the left, can be seen a memorial tower of 1791 on the Hill of Loyd (views). 2.5mi/4km farther on are the ruins of St Ciarán's Church, on the banks of the Blackwater, with three simple high crosses (National Monuments), an Early Christian gravestone and a holy well.
Slieve na Calliagh
12.5mi/20km west of Kells on the R168 and R154, in the Slieve na Calliagh (Witch's Hill) range, is the Loughcrew group of burials.Here some 30 Neolithic chambered cairns are distributed over two neighboring peaks.
12.5mi/20km west of Kells on the R168 and R154, in the Slieve na Calliagh (Witch's Hill) range, is the Loughcrew group of burials. Here some 30 Neolithic chambered cairns are distributed over two neighboring peaks. Few of them have preserved their chambers intact. Perhaps the most interesting is Cairn T, in the eastern group, 120ft/36m in diameter, which has a large main chamber with side chambers and many stones with scribed ornament. A walk in these hills, 985ft/300m above the plain, affords superb views of the fertile countryside of Meath.