Monastic Site, 17th Church, High Crosses and Cross slabs

The 17th century planter's church ruin at Clonca is believed to have been built on the foundation of an earlier church associated with a monastic site founded by St Morialagh in the 6th Century. The monastery was one of the most important foundations in the development of Christianity on Inishowen. It's proximity to Carrowmore and another monastic site founded by St Boudan in Culdaff made this area a great seat of skill and learning. Only two high crosses remain - an upright tall cross and the head of another cross lying prostrate with a large base next to it.

Standing inside the church are two carved grave slabs. Although the stone on the left, see below, is quite modern in comparison to the early grave slab, it is never the less, a very interesting slab. An inscription in Lombardic lettering reads " magnvsma corristin iaeotkiseo" translated as MAGNUS MACORRISTIN OF THE ISLES... MacGorristan is believed to have been a scotsman and there are several stories as to how this grave slab ended up at Clonca in Donegal. The beautifully carved slab bears a shinty stick and ball. Shinty is a game, very similar to hurling, played in Scotland.

The lintel above the west door of the church carved with ecclesiastics is significantly older than the current church. One can only imagine how beautiful this weathered lintel once may have been.

At the entrance to the site is a large wall and on the north side I found a spud stone, the socket held the lower part of a door hinge. This was a nice surprise as I did not know of it's existence. It is similar to a bullaun stone but the sides of the basin/socket are steeper. Built into the bottom right corner of the west face of the church is another inscribed stone, pictured below right, I only learnt about this stone after my visit, hence the poor image. The inscription reads " --]ANODUBDAGANDORI[-- | --]OGSODODOMNALLOR[-- | --]SUNN[--" o Dubdagain who made this stone for Domnall.

Spud stone?

Inscribed stone

Situated: Quite easy this one. From Carndonagh take the R244 east for 5 kilometres to Gorey. In Gorey turn left at the crossroads. The site is situated in a field immediately after the next crossroads. Park at the cottage and walk up the track next to it.

Discovery Map 3: C 5253 4708. Last visit April 2010.

Longitude: 7° 10' 25" W

Latitude: 55° 16' 4" N

Google Map.

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

From the southwest

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