In 1866, the beautiful little Kenure church, on the Skerries road, was built and endowed by the Palmers. The building was designed by James Edward Rogers, (1838-1896), (who also designed the Church of Ireland church in Skerries), and built by Gilbert Cockburn and son, at a cost of approximately £1200. The buildings is cut limestone with bands of red sandstone, and is surmounted by a one arch bell turret, the arch of which is carried on marble shafts, as are the window arches. The porch is Portland stone and red sandstone, finely moulded and carved.
Over the communion table is a beautiful stained glass window in memory of Mary Ellen Peel, nee Ellen Palmer, who was the daughter of Sir Roger Palmer, the 4th Baronet. She married Archie Peel, a nephew of the Prime minister, but she died tragically, ten days after giving birth to her third child, in 1863.
There is also a circular stained glass window in the western gable of the church, which is unusual and exquisite. Even the roof slates of the building are set in a shaded pattern of diamonds and the building is in a peaceful setting surrounded by trees. In 1899, Archbishop Peacock of Dublin consecrated on memorial tablets inside the church.
History and historic features
There is evidence of settlement in the Rush area dating back to Neolithic times. Flint tools have been found in the area and there is a passage grave and cist located off the Skerries Road on the headland to the north of North Beach.
A giant promontory fort is located on the headland of Drumanagh, north of Rush. It is surrounded on three sides by cliffs and a large rampart encloses the fourth side. The site has not been excavated, but it is thought that it dates back to the Bronze or Iron age.
An article in The Sunday Times in January 1996 claimed that Roman coins, broaches and copper ingots were found at the site and that there was “clear evidence…of a Roman coastal fort of up to 40 acres…a significant Roman beachhead, built to support military campaigns in the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D.”. This claim is disputed by many archaeologists who see this simply as evidence of trade between Ireland and the Romans. The artifacts were illegally excavated after being discovered with metal detectors, so they have not been available for further study.
According to Barry Raftery of UCD Drumanagh “may well have been (and probably was) a major trading station linking Ireland and Roman Britain. It was probably populated with a mixture of Irish, Romano-British, Gallo-Roman, and others, doubtless including a few genuine Romans as well”. Legal disputes with the land owner have meant that further excavations have not been carried out to be able to settle the debate.