St Assam's Church, Raheny

The ruins of St Assam's Church lie in the centre of Raheny Village. St Assam is thought to have been a disciple of St Patrick.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

St Assam's Church, Raheny

In the centre of Raheny village lie the ruins of the old church of St Assam. It is supposed to have been built on or near the site of the ‘rath Eanna’, a fort where local people led by a man called Eanna lived long, long ago, maybe between 400 BC and 400 AD. It is from this ‘rath’ that Raheny takes its name.

St Assam is thought to have been a disciple of St Patrick and the first church in his name was built here in 1609. (The new Catholic church built across the road in 1864 as well as Scoil Assaim also took his name.) In 1889 the old St Assam’s Church was replaced as parish church for the Church of Ireland congregation by All Saints’ Church on the Howth Road. All that remains of the old church are some of the walls and one end wall.

The ruins of the church are surrounded by an old graveyard which was still used for burials until 1925. Lord Ardilaun had always shown great interest in St Assam’s Church and graveyard, so much so that when he offered to pay all the expenses for the new All Saints’ Church which he had built for the parish he did so under the condition that the old church and graveyard were to be kept in good repair.

In 1781, a curious incident took place in this graveyard. A man named John Lonergan had been sentenced to death for poisoning his employer with arsenic but Lonergan bribed his executioner to help fake his death. His coffin was secretly filled with stones and buried in the graveyard while the man himself fled to America.

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