In the tranquil landscape between the foothills of the Blackstairs Mountains and the bank of the river Barrow, the now nearly forgotten village of St. Mullins still withstands the ravages of time. Well known in pre-Christian times by virtue of a holy well and standing its ground for several centuries against Vikings, Normans and the Irish themselves, only ruins and fallen down buildings remind of the once busy hustle and bustle of a lively early monastery.
It’s hard to believe that it’s famous name saint, Moling, was born 14oo years ago and maybe it is a blessing that this birthday is not greatly celebrated. That way this special place in South County Carlow will keep it’s charme and natural beauty.
Moling soon discovered the wealth of the Barrow valley and build a corn mill which led the farmers in the area to settle even closer together to form a loose community. Later Moling instigated a ferry service which was in constant use until the middle of the 1960s. Only the progress of modern times and with it the car stopped this service after more than 1300 years of continious operation.
After Clonmacnoise, and Glendalough, St. Mullins was once rated the third most important ecclesiastical site in all Ireland. Not much is left of the once majestic buildings but the spirit of generations long gone.
After the Vikings came up the river to raid the monastry several times, the Normans built a motte to defend the area. Even the kings of Leinster recognised the special spirit in St. Mullins and found their final resting place here.
Walking around the area you still can feel the special magic of times past.
The last big historic “event” was the rebellion of 1798 and today their graves are identified with green markers which are dotted all among the graves.
Don’t forget to stop on the view point for Clashganny for a few pictures before you head back to Carlow.
Come on, let’s celebrate St. Molings birthday this year…