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Kilraghts, County Antrim


Ir. Cill Reachtais [kill raghtis] ‘church of the legislation’.


Kilraghts is the name both of the townland and of the parish in which it is situated. The ruins of the medieval parish church are in a graveyard a short distance west of the village of Kilraghts which is situated in the north of the townland. The first reference to Kilraghts is found in the Taxation of Pope Nicholas in 1306 when the name of the church is recorded as Ecclesia de Kellrethi (Eccles. Tax. 72). The name of the parish is recorded as Graunge de Killraghtis in 1622 (UlsterVisit. (Reeves) 72), and the name of the townland as Kilraghtis in 1636 (Inq. Ult. Antrim $105 Car. I). The most satisfactory interpretation of the place-name is Cill Reachtais ‘church of the legislation’. The 12th-century Martyrology of Gorman cites a saint named Ratnat (Mod. Ir. Rathnad) whose feast day is August 5th.  (Mart. Gorm. 150)and the Martyrology of Donegal which dates from c.1630 refers to the same saint as Rathnat Chille Raith, i.e. ‘Rathnat ofCill Raith’ (Mart. Don. 212). Hogan (OG 209a) identifies Cill Rait (Mod. Ir. Cill Raith) with Kilraghts and remarks that this Rathnat seems the same as Rathnat Cille Rathnaite or Rathnat of Cill Rathnaite whose feast day is given as August 9th in the 9th-century Martyrology of Tallaght (Mart. Tall. 61). However, the Martyrology of Donegal goes on to inform us that the Raghnaid [Rathnad]in question is ‘of the race of Corbmac Cas, son of Oilioll Olum’ and this information puts the saint’s Munster provenance beyond question and conclusively rules out the identification of Kilraghts with Cill Raith/Cill Rathnaite. There is another parish named Kilraghts in Co. Clare which appears to have a more plausible claim to be identified with Cill Raith/Cill Raithnaite of the Martyrologies.



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