Coordinates: 53.493156, -7.671102
Surveyed in 2018/19 as part of a community training workshop funded by Westmeath County Council and supported by the Heritage Council.
Graveyard and Headstones cleared of vegetation, in 2018 and 2019 by a Ballymore voluntary group. All headstones have been read and
uploaded to this site.
The present, ruinous, St Owens, Church of Ireland was built in 1827 with a loan of £1,043 from the Board of First Fruits. It was built on the site of an earlier R.C. Church. There was an earlier Christian settlement in Ballymore dating back to 600 AD. A Church has existed on this site from medieval times, the earlier church was dedicated to St Thomas and re-dedicated to St Mary in 1428. In 1545 the Church on this site was chosen by Henry VIII to be the new Cathedral Church of Meath diocese, but there are no records that this every happened. Some ancient Vicars were: Maurice O'Kennedy 1399-1413, Andrew Casey 1422-1461 and John Coffy - died in 1546. St Owens Church of Ireland was built to house 300 worshippers but had only 30-50 in regular attendance. This Church had elaborate seating with red velvet cushions, stained glass windows and a bell in its 3 storey tower. The Church functioned until it was closed in 1959 and dismantled in 1964 and abandoned. The beautiful stained-glass windows, donated by the Malone family of Shinglas and Baronstown were re-installed in All Saints Church, Mullingar. The bell, cast in Dublin in 1861, was re-installed in St Dorothea's Church, Gilnahir, Co Down in 1959. The lectern and Altar items are in Almoritia Church (5 miles E. of Ballymore). The adjoining Graveyard has over 200 headstones, from the 17th to the 20th c. Some of the older stones have very decoratively carved script and decoration. There are numerous grave markers (ordinary stones - taken from near the residence of the deceased) placed on the grave, by those who could not afford a headstone. The oldest legible headstone is dated 1613 (No. 68). There are four R.C. clergymen buried in the graveyard: Fr. Watkins, a friar and Fr. Leavy (graves not found), Fr. Doyle d. 1824 (No. 151), Fr. Mannion d. 1871 (No. 170). and two C. of I. Rectors: Rev. Falloon d. 1865 (No. 188) and Rev. Cooper d. 1950 (No. 188). To aid location, each headstone is numbered with a discreet glass number.
Artifacts from the earlier church have been discovered during the cleanup (2018-2020) of the graveyard, these include a "V" section of an O-gee window, from the medieval church, which has carved, on one side, an image of Christ., there also some stone fragments from this earlier church. Also found were 2 carved window sections from the 15/16th c. Church. #
In the East section of the graveyard there is an early 17th century mortuary chapel of the Magan family of Umma House, Moyvoughley. The door-frame and window in this building have been verified as not belonging to this period (17th c.) but have been re-used from a medieval Tower house. The door-frame clearly originally had two doors - the outer door opened outwards and was closed by a chain which ran through the door "jamb". The window frame had glazing bars and was re-inforced by iron rods.