At the extreme North-Western edge of the Strandhill Peninsula, across the runway at Strandhill Airport stands Kilaspugbrone Church (co-ordinates 54.28100 -8.59848).
The ruins of Kilaspugbrone Church date from the eleventh or twelfth centuries, though there was an older church erected on the same site in the fifth century which is said to have been built by Saint Patrick.
The place name Killaspugbrone is based on three Irish words; kill from cill meaning church, aspug from easbog meaning bishop, and Bron was the name of St Patrick‘s disciple.
Kilaspugbrone was an important Christian settlement, founded in the fifth century by Saint Patrick, who gave the original 5th century church to his disciple Bishop Bronus.
Bishop Bronus was a local native of the Coolera area and held a special place in the affections of Saint Patrick because he helped propagate the new Christian faith.
On his visit to the area Saint Patrick lost a tooth that according to the ancient Tripartite Life of St Patrick, “he gave to Bron because he was dear to Saint Patrick“.
The tooth of Patrick became a relic in the area and was put in a shrine known as Fiacal Padraig. The gold and silver ornamented shrine is now preserved in the Treasure of Ireland exhibition in the National Museum of Ireland. Unfortunately the tooth is missing.
It is believed that the chapel was originally enclosed in a cashel and the old name of Caiseal Irrae is a likely inspiration of the form of the modern anglicised place name Coolera, though the cashel has long since disappeared under the drifting sands.
To get to Killaspugbrone Church you must first drive to Strandhill Airport and park your car, then walk along a small road on the left hand side of the airport approach road just a few yards before reaching the airport itself. This road is closed by means of a large metal gate across the road, this road passes an aerial mast belonging to the airport, keep walking along this road, eventually you will have to walk cross country, to the end of the runway, from where you can walk to the other side and from here you will be able to see the remains of Killaspugbrone Church.
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