Church, High Cross, Font, slabs and Bullaun

The monastery at Aghowle is thought to have been founded by St Finian of Clonard in the 6th century, but there is no evidence to support this. At the site today there is a 12th century Romanesque Church, a plain high cross, a cross base a large stone font. Most of the south wall of the 18 metre-long rectangular church is missing.

In the west wall is an unusual rectangular shaped romanesque doorway with decorative beading. The doorway is lintelled on the outside and arched on the inside. In the east gable are two small windows. These arched windows have flanking columns supported on capitals visible on the exterior.

Romanesque doorway

Romanesque beading

East gable interior

From the south-west

St Finden's Cross

To the northeast of the church is a 2.8 metre high imperforate ringed cross standing in a pyramidal base known as St Finden's Cross. There are sunken panels in the shaft and underneath the arms, see image below left. Located on the eastern side of the cross is a large stone font which is believed to be pre-Norman. A wander around the church and graveyard is well rewarded as numerous cross slabs and a few smaller fonts are to be found nestled amongst the gravestones. In the field to the southeast is a large bullaun stone, which I could not view on this trip. See below.

Pictured above is the north face, on the left and the west face on right.

Stone font

Font from the north

Graveslab/Cross slabs

The graveslab, pictured above, is one of the 13th century group of granite slabs known as the Hollywood slabs. Like most of that group, it has been reused as a grave maker. Pictured below left are two early Christian cross slabs that can be found in the church and around the graveyard.

Early cross slab

Cross slab

Bullaun Stone

Located in the field to the south-east of the church is a huge earthfast bullaun stone, almost two metres in length. I have been unlucky when I have visited Aghowle, a bull has always been present in the field with the bullaun. It has four basins, one of which has broken out of the north side of the stone. I took the shot below with a long lens. You can see a third basin just above the one on the right. The fourth one is hidden from this angle.

Situated: From Tullow head east on the R725 for about 8 kilometres. At the crossroads turn right for Aghowle. 1.6 k turn left at crossroads. Then turn right. After 1k take a right at the fork marked Aghowle church.

Discovery Map 62: S 9311 6942. Last Visited Apr 2019.

Longitude: 6° 37' 13" W. Church

Latitude: 52° 46' 4" N.

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey

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