Duleek takes its name from daimh liag, meaning house of stones and referring to an early stone-built church, St. Cianan's Church, the ruins of which are still visible in Duleek today. The Duleek Heritage Trail has been conceived as a series of stepping stones through the village and its long and varied history.

It began as an early Christian monastic settlement. St. Patrick established a bishopric here about 450 AD, which he placed in the care of St. Cianan on November 24, 489. The place was sacked several times by the Norsemen between 830 and 1149 and was also pillaged by the Anglo-Normans in 1171. In April 1014 the bodies of Brian Boru and his son lay in state in Duleek on their way to Armagh. The 12th century saw the reconstitution of the original monastery as St. Mary's Abbey.

The first Anglo-Norman Overlord of Meath, Hugh de Lacy, established a manor and constructed a motte castle at Duleek. About 1180 he granted St Cianan's Church, together with certain lands, to the Augustinians. The churchyard of the now disused Church of Ireland church occupies part of the site of the early monastery.

The village's four crosses and the lime tree on the village green are reminders of Duleek's links to the struggle between William and James and to wider European unrest at the time of Louis the XIV of France.

On a more romantic/adventurous note, Duleek is also associated with a Robin Hood type highwayman - Collier the Robber - who used the Duleek Commons as a base from which to rob passing stage coaches. Besides offering bandits a hideout, the Commons is particularly noted for its distinctive flora and fauna and its wild-bird activity.

see the Duleek Heritage Trail for more.

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