Meath and Kildare - where have we come from? In 1976, the Dioceses of Meath and Kildare were united (Kildare Diocese having for the previous century and a quarter been united with the neighbouring Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough), but Meath and Kildare each have impressive histories stretching back to the early centuries of Christianity. Made up a number of the oldest dioceses in the early Irish Church including Kells, Clonard and Duleek, the Diocese of Meath was one of the Cuig Cuige in ancient Ireland and was a province in its own right. The Boyne valley in the centre of Meath Diocese features centrally in the mission of St Patrick to Ireland. (Newgrange, one of the most significant pre-Christian religious sites in Europe, is part of the tourist trail to this day.)
Clonmacnoise was one of the monastic centres of the country, set at the place where the ancient east-west road across the country met the River Shannon running south. It remains very much part of the spiritual life of the Dioceses. Kells in the Diocese of Meath has given its name to the greatest illuminated manuscript of the Irish Church - the Book of Kells. Kildare was the setting of the ministry of St Brigid. Indeed Kildare was one of the few places where, in the early centuries of the Christian faith in Ireland, the bishop was under the firm jurisdiction of a woman! Kildare has also a fine Cathedral - St Brigid's Cathedral, mediaeval in origin and fully restored in the late nineteenth century with a further major restoration at the end of the twentieth century. Proud as we rightly are of our past, the Christian Gospel is also about the present and what Jesus Christ wills for us today..