Showing posts from February, 2023

Archaeology 360: St. Patrick's High Cross, Carndonagh, Co Donegal

First there were cross slabs (slabs of stone with crosses carved on them, like at Fahan Mura ) and eventually there were the great High Crosses (like at Kells, Co. Meath). But … somewhere between the two lies St Patrick’s Cross at Carndonagh, Co. Donegal. Although art historians still argue over the dating of the sequence, it is generally thought that the cross at Carndonagh dates to the middle of the 7 th century. The eastern face is decorated with ribbon interlace. The upper portion of the western face is filled with a Greek cross, in similar ribbon interlace while the lower stem bears a depiction of Christ in low relief. Flanking the cross are two pillar stones decorated with human figures. The pillar to the south of the cross had a carving of a figure with a bell that might be a bishop or pilgrim. Another face of the same stone bears an unusual figure, apparently bearing a fine set of horns. The northern pillar has depictions of a warrior (with shield) and King David (with harp).

Archaeology 360: Temple of Deen Court Tomb, Co Donegal

Court tombs are typically composed of a stone-built burial chamber, paired with an open courtyard (hence the name). Built during the 4 th millennium BC, around 390 examples survive in Ireland [ Wiki ]. The example at Larahirrel, outside the village of Bocan, is pretty well preserved with an identifiable court and chamber stones surviving in situ , even if most of the cairn material is long gone. The surviving upright stones are spectacular and the windswept hilltop it sits on gives impressive views across the countryside in all directions. I didn’t visit during the nicest weather, but you can still get a sense of the great views across the landscape as well as the beauty of the site itself. I’ve compiled the tour into a consecutive YouTube playlist [ here ], or you can access each video clip individually here: Part I: Outside, to the SW [1:16] Part II: Outside, to the NW, by the court [1:23] Part III: Inside the court [1:23] Part IV: Outside, to the N [1:03] Part V: In