The picturesque village of St. Mullins has an impressive ecclesiastical history.
St. Moling established a foundation here in the seventh century. Throughout his life he is attributed with performing many miracles, and curing many diseases.
In the 8th Century manuscript, known as “The Book of Moling ”, there is a plan of the monastery, the earliest known plan of an Irish monastery, which shows four crosses inside and eight crosses outside the circular monastic wall.
It is said that St. Moling dug a mile – long watercourse with his own hands to power his mill, a task that took seven years!
St. Moling became Bishop of Ferns, and died in 697AD. He is buried at St. Mullins.
Today, the remaining ecclesiastical ruins are situated at the back of the graveyard and they include five churches and the remains of a round tower.
The churchyard lies in the shadow of an Anglo-Norman motte and contains a fascinating collection of 18th and 19th century gravestones.
During penal times, mass was said at the altar in the centre of the graveyard. Over the altar is an aperture through which a warning could be communicated to the priest from a watcher positioned on the motte.
The former Church of Ireland Church, situated beside the renowned monastic ruins and cemetery was originally built in 1811 and now houses the St Mullins Heritage Centre.
On the outskirts of St Mullins lie the ruins of an early medieval church. This church is said to have been built in thanksgiving to St. Moling who freed the area of Ossory from paying a tax in cows, known as the Boroma tribute, to the High Kings of Ireland.
The Holy Well at St Mullins has been a place of pilgrimage since medieval times, and St Moling’s Well is still venerated for its powers of healing.
Friar Clyn, the Kilkenny chronicler reported that in 1349, while the Black Death was ravaging the area, thousands of people made a pilgrimage to wade in the waters of the Well.
Visitors to St Mullins today will enjoy the tranquil riverside surroundings and picturesque setting with fantastic vistas of the Blackstairs Mountains and Mount Brandon.