By 1657 however, the church was described as being in a state of decay and ruin, and was later completely rebuilt along with the existing tower, which still stretches out of the earth and above the olden trees surrounding it. The practice of burying the dead within the church itself was stopped in 1773, but damage to the structure had already been done; the multitudes of the silent dead below no doubt contributing to the deterioration of the foundations. In 1839 the decision to build a new church was taken, leaving this one for nature to claim back.
The meaning of the Irish name for the village - Plain of the Pool - has connotations of a creepy, folkloric nature. Throughout Ireland, small lakes and springs are often referred to as ‘Pooka Pools’ or ‘Pollaphuca’, which means 'pooka' or demon hole. 'Pooka' is from the old Irish 'puca', which means ‘goblin’. It is thought that the word pooka is of Scandinavian origin - the word 'pook' or 'puke' means nature spirit. One of the earliest mentions of the village of Magheralin actually concerns a demon called Huachuille, or Duachaill, which was said to haunt the area around the body of water from which the place’s name is derived. Apparently this demon laid waste to the surrounding countryside for a time, but was eventually defeated by St. Colman, who died in AD 752, after he founded a church. Interestingly, the word 'puke' is still used in certain rural areas around the region, and refers to a person who is a nuisance. It is linked with spirits and beings that delight in causing mischief and mayhem, usually of a harmless enough nature, but often with a sinister edge.
Here are some photos of the old tower and graveyard I took the last time I visited the place. Nestled behind a high stone wall, walking through the graveyard, by day or by night, is a truly atmospheric experience and highly recommended. Oh, and those blurry bits in some of the photos aren't raindrops on the camera lens, they're spectral entities. No, really.