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  • Writer's pictureHugh MacMahon

What is a 'Lorum'?

Lorum (Ridge of the Elms)  is a stop on the St Moling stage of the County Carlow Tourist Trail. It was described as having evidence of three different churches there so I had expectations. I was disappointed.    

I could find only one church – a large seven-bay modern (1830) Church of Ireland raised on a slight risel but it was securely locked. With no information board provided, nothing else of interest in sight and no one to enlighten me, I just took a photo and moved on to my next stop.

Months later I came across the photo and decided to do some digging – on the internet. I found that around 596 St Lasarian had been there though now a hidden nearby Holy Well and scraps of two Stone Crosses are the only reminders (if you can find them).  He did not stay long.

He was on his way back from studies in Rome and thought that Lorum Hill might be a good place to settle. However he had a vision that told him, ‘Go where you shall see the sun first shining, and there shall your religious house be established’. That place was Old Leighlin Hill across the Barrow.  He went and Leighlin eventually became one of the most famous religious centres in Leinster.

Lasarian must have spent some time in Lorum however as his memory and community survived. The remains of a round tower can still be seen, they say, though I had missed out on that too.  Only substantial monasteries could afford a Round Tower.

So Lorum did play a noteworthy part in the growth of early Irish society and deserves some sort of monument or information board as a reminder.

The next time I visit a place that shows no memory or pride in its former contribute to history I will think of it as ‘a Lorum’.



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