Saint Bronagh’s Bell


Ruins of Church, Kilbroney Rostrevor

Ruins of an Ancient Church, in the Kilbroney Graveyard, Rostrevor

Above the village of Rostrevor, on the Kilbroney Road, you will find the ruins of the ancient church. It was here, following the influence of St. Patrick, that a young woman named Bronagh set up a monastic community in the 6th Century.

 

For hundreds of years following the demise of the convent, a bell could be heard ringing on stormy nights. Local legend had it that it was a warning to seafarers on Carlingford Lough. The source could not be found, though it was thought the sound came from the old graveyard. Others explained the noise away with stories of banshees and fairies.

A Holy Well, Kilbroney Graveyard, Rostrevor

This Holy Well in Kilbroney Graveyard, is said to provide cures for throat and eye ailments.

 

Then in 1839, a big storm ripped through the countryside, causing damage to buildings and trees. It was in this storm that an old tree in the Kilbroney Graveyard fell, and within its split trunk, a bell was found.

 

It is said that the bell belonged to Saint Bronagh, and was used to summon the nuns to their prayers. Whether it was forgotten about as the convent disappeared, or was placed here to save it during raids, we will never know.

Saint Bronagh's Bell, Rostrevor

Saint Bronagh’s Bell is now housed in the Star of the Sea Church, in Rostrevor.

 

Today the bell is housed in the Catholic church in Rostrevor, where an external striker allows visitors to hear it’s sweet tone.