The oldest church of the Barony of Carbury which stretches from Sligo to Mullaghmore.
Killaspugbrone is the ruins of an ancient church with an adjoining cemetery that rests on the extremity of the headland behind the airport at Strandhill. It is said the chapel was originally enclosed in a cashel and the old name of the place ‘Caiseal Irrae’ is a likely inspiration of the form of the modern anglicised place name – Coolera. The cashel has disappeared under the sand and the church and cemetery would have been covered by the drifting sands too if marram grass had not been planted to prevent this from happening. It is likely the present ruin dates from the eleventh or twelfth centuries rather than being the ruins of the original church erected in the fifth century.
The place name Killaspugbrone is based on three Irish words; Kill from cill meaning church, aspug from easbog meaning bishop, and Brón was the name of St Patrick’s disciple. This important Christian settlement was founded in the fifth century by St Patrick who gave the church to his disciple Bishop Bronus. Patrick had no difficulty securing a site for his new church because with the coming of Christianity large tracts of land in Coolera became designated church lands.
Back then Coolera was a district of the Barony of Tireragh where St Patrick had converted local chiefs to the new religion. Bishop Brón was a native of the Coolera area and held a special place in the affections of St Patrick because he helped propagate the new Christian faith. On his visit to the area Patrick lost his tooth that according to the ancient Tripartite Life of St Patrick, “he gave to Brón because he was dear to St Patrick”.
The tooth of Patrick became a relic in the area and was put in a shrine known as ‘Fiacal Pádraig’. The gold and silver ornamented shrine Fiacal Pádraig is now preserved in the Treasure of Ireland exhibition in the National Museum of Ireland. Unfortunately the tooth is missing.
source: Seamus McGoldrick