Clonmacnoise in the Saucer of Ireland

Lately I found myself in Athlone – the center of Ireland – where the slow running river Shannon is full to it’s brim


Behold Athlone Castle. IMG_0341

The central keep or ‘donjon’ has been finely restored


and contains impressive treasures – like this huge lock which once secured the castle gate

IMG_0335 Best of all this Sheela-na-gig or ‘Sile-ina-Giob’ (Sheela on her hunkers). She is only one of about a hundred Sheelas remaining  in Ireland. She  formed the keystone of a water gate in Athlone. IMG_0334

Among the antique and bookshops of Athlone –  it is good to see the goddess culture endures


Next door to the castle I did inspect Sean’s Pub – the oldest pub in Ireland – founded in 990AD. Surely it must have been a clóchan supplied with honey mead?


Other interesting buildings include this award-winning Thai restaurant


and this cute establishment


 Wandering south of Athlone to  Clonmacnoise – Meadow Of The Sons Of Nós – which was once a major center of learning, religion and craftmanship

IMG_0201These plains flood each winter – but this year much more extensively  – as seen behind  Ciarán’s little tomb


The little temple shrugs off the years since Ciarán died here in 606


A sacred destination to which tired pilgrims travelled along this ancient path


Home place to this exceptional high cross


Standing four meters tall –  carved in sandstone in C900 –  depicting biblical scriptures in its panels


badly weathered but still identifiable – the crucifixion


         A craftsman from Donegal undertook to copy this masterpiece high cross


Brendan Mc Gloin loved the cross so much that he painstakingly recreated each panel


showing us the cross – as it would have been


all rich and sacred and of itself festooned with texture


See more about how he made it here.

Then when completed it was shipped to Oregon


to honour the Irish people there.

At home the graveyard of Clonmacnois is still in use today.


8 thoughts on “Clonmacnoise in the Saucer of Ireland

  1. I am totally gobsmacked by your pictures . Ah, Brendan is such a master. What a thing to carve. I can see the craftsmanship, but the love in what he was doing is there for all to see, and for a long time. Some people do not understand that the price of something is small if something is made to last hundreds of years.

    Love from Scotland

    Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2014 01:52:57 +0000 To:

  2. HI Louise, Good Blog, nice to read the comments above, I feel more rewarded with those than the pitifull amount I recieved for three years toil.

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