On the shore of Lough Allen , less than a mile south of Tarmon Church , is the ruins of the “Ancient Abbey of Tarmon”. The site consists of the ruins of an old church and it’s adjoining cemetery. Very little is known about the origins of the abbey, which was dedicated to St Patrick, but it seems to have been a Franciscan settlement, closely linked to the Abbey of Kilronan, about six miles away.
Nunnery Point About a mile south of Tarmon Abbey, in the townland of Cartronbeg are the ruins of an old convent, knkown as the Convent of Conagh. It was built on a peninsula into Lough Allen, now known as Nunnery Point. Again, very little is known about the history of the convent. One report suggests that it was burned down in 1642 by Colonel Hamilton and his soldiers and another suggests that it was closed by Cromwell’s soldiers.
The earliest Church in the parish was founded by St Hugh on the Island of Inishmagrath sometime around 520 AD. The island was also used as a place of burial. In the 1830’s Lady Townsend, who was well disposed to the local Catholic population, gave permission to Fr Myles McPartlan to build a church, on condition that it remain unroofed. The church was built in the townland of Killadiskert and is now known as Kilbride Church. The date of the construction of the church is carved on the lintel over the doorway, 1735. The church grounds gradually replaced the island as a place of burial.
The Bog Chapel
As can be seen from this photograph of the site of the Bog Chapel in Carrowlaur, little or nothing of the original building now remains
The Chapel served the people of the parish until the present St Brigid’s Church was completed in 1869.
The Bog Chapel was built in the townland of Carrowlaur. Nothing is known about when it was built, but it probably was constructed during the early days of the Penal Laws, i.e.1750. Like the church in Kilbride, the Bog Chapel was called after St Brigid and it was probably built sometime after the Kilbride was built. Unusually, it did not have an adjoining grave yard. This fact, as well as the fact that Carrowlaur would have been somewhat backward, would suggest that it was built during the height of the implementation of the Penal Laws. Built in the form of a “T”, its transepts were wider and longer that the nave. The altar was built against the centre of the long transept wall and a small sacristy was constructed behind the altar.
It is just about possible to see part of the outline of the foundations of the Bog Chapel in this Google Earth view of the site in Carrowlaur.
A government Commission reported in 1831 that the average attendance at Mass in the Bog Chapel was 2,500. By that time there were two other churches in use in the parish, one in Tarmon and the other in Newbridge. Fr Tom Maguire used his oratorical talents to help raise funds for these churches in Dublin .
The stones of the Bog Chapel were used in the construction of Kilmore National School which was built in 1886.