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.
The central keep or ‘donjon’ has been finely restored
and contains impressive treasures – like this huge lock which once secured the castle gate
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.
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
These 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”
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Glad to see someone documenting our precious history in stone
lovely blog as usually louise. mal
St. Brendan.God bless his hands.
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.
Lovely little trip on this post. I pass through Athlone regularly on my trips to Tipperary…never have time to stop. Really lovely pics too.
Wonderful Blog Louise it seemed like a great trip