St. Mullins Heritage Centre
Monday and Tuesday 9.30 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. and alternate Wednesdays from 9.30 a.m. – 3.30 p.m. Sundays and Bank Holidays 2 – 6 p.m.
Admission charge applies.
Mullichain Cafe opening hours 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. weekends in February and daily March – October. Closed Monday except on Bank Holidays, closed on Tuesday instead.
St. Mullins Heritage Centre
The seventh century ecclesiastical site of St. Mullins is beautifully situated on a high wooded promontory on the east bank of the River Barrow, overlooked by the Blackstairs Mountains to the east and Mount Brandon to the west. St. Mullins is one of the county’s most important archaeological sites containing aspects of both religious and secular history. It is very much a place of tradition with the graveyard and holy well still in use by local people.
The site had close links with Ferns in Co. Wexford and Glendalough in Co. Wicklow. It has been a place of pilgrimage since the earliest of times and St. Moling’s Well is still venerated for its powers of healing. The ecclesiastical ruins are situated in the back of the graveyard and include five churches and the remains of a round tower. The monastery probably contained several high crosses but only the upper portion and base of one solid-wheeled cross remains which shows a large figure of Christ and the Apostles.
Teampall Mor is the oldest church, parts of which may date from the tenth or eleventh century. South of Teampall Mor lie the remains of the largest church, the “Abbey”, which is probably fifteenth century. To the east of the “Abbey” is a tiny oratory of uncertain date, dedicated to St. James.
The churchyard lies in the shadow of the Anglo-Norman motte and contains a fascinating collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century gravestones. The former Church of Ireland Church, originally built in 1811 now houses the St. Mullins Heritage Centre. All aspects of local history including publications, church records, maps, old photographs and artefacts are housed here and provide a fascinating account of village and rural life over the centuries.
The lower settlement is located on the banks of the River Barrow and it was here that the construction of the navigation first began in the 1750s. The quayside features nineteenth century flour and woollen mills, some in ruins while the Barrow Way long distance walking route starts/finishes from here. There is also a 6km Sli na Slainte route which passes along the river towpath and up through nearby Bahana Wood. It would be hard to find a more perfect location to relax and enjoy the passing riverside scenery than at The Mullichain Cafe situated on the quayside which has featured in the Irish Times best alfresco dining options. Situated in part of a tastefully restored old grain store building, the Mullichain offers coffee and a scone or a glass of wine and smoked salmon/brown bread as you look out the window at the changing tide.