Killaan Medieval Church & Graveyard
Recorded Monument GA 086:150
The remains of a medieval church stand in the north western corner of the graveyard. Four metres of a battered wall is incorporated into the graveyard boundary. This is late C 13th date. Recent studies suggest an early Christian foundation. Laan was one of three smiths mentioned in the annals. Fragments of late medieval masonry can be seen in the graveyard. A water stoup incorporated into the new graveyard entrance wall is late C12th or early C13th in date.
Who was Saint Laan?
There are a number of spellings for the name. Laebhan, Leban, Liban, Loebhain, Leaain. The earliest reference to this saint is from the Annals of the Four Masters under AD448. St. Laebhan was a smith to St. Patrick. William Reeves notes that in the recital of St. Patrick’s muintir or family…there occur the names of three smiths expert at shaping; MacCecht, Laebhan and Fortchern.
Smith at Killaan
The aforementioned smith to Saint Patrick, Maccectus of Domhnach Loebain or Church of Laan, reportedly made a relic known as the finnfaidheach. O’Donovan notes the relic was lost through time and states he ‘never met any authority to prove what it was. However, ‘Mr. Petrie thinks it was a bell’. Could it be the famous bell of St. Patrick?. This is currently in the care of National Museum of Ireland.
Woodlawn Heritage Group assisted Galway County Council collecting data for a graveyard map which is located at the entrance to Killaan graveyard. Killaan Graveyard searchable digital data is available here for your convenience.