Showing posts from January, 2023

Archaeology 360: Fahan Mura, Co Donegal

At first glimpse, there’s little remarkable about Fahan Mura graveyard. Sure, there was a monastery here from the 6 th century, but nothing identifiable survives above ground and the standing ruins date to the 16 th and 17 th centuries. Throw a stone in rural Ireland and it has a decent chance of landing in a similar churchyard. What sets this site apart, however, is the absolutely magnificent 7 th century cross-slab of St Mura (though some argue that it slightly later in the sequence of ancient cross carving). There is an interlaced long-stemmed, Latin, cross on both sides, though on the west face there are (difficult to see) representation of two human figures. It’s debatable who they might represent, but the local tradition that one of them is old Mura himself has much to recommend it. Quite apart from its artistic merit, the Fahan cross-slab is of importance as it is one of only two ancient examples of continuous Greek script surviving from early Ireland. In this instance the s