Gleann Cholm Cille/Glencolmcille

Station 5, Mullach na Croise/The Eminence of the Cross

The fifth station of the Turas is at St Colmcille's Chapel, which stands within a circular enclosure. The church is only 5.85 metres by 3.37 metres internally and may have been built as a tomb shrine, because St Colmcille's bed is in the north east corner. The pilgrim would circle the church three times whilst praying then enter the church and lie down on the bed. They would then turn around on the bed three times. Above the bed is a small Ambry that contained three curing stones. I think these stones may have been passed around the body. The pilgrims would also take a handful of soil from beneath the bed which they would bring home. This would protect their home from fire.

Also present inside the enclosure are three small cairns. The pilgrim would circle these cairns in turn saying the Credo, 5 paters and five aves. On each of the cairns is a cross inscribed schist slab. These three slabs are thought to date from the sixth century. Due to erosion and lichen the crosses are quite faded and perfect light or off-camera lighting would be needed to achieve good images. The north slab bears a simple latin cross. It is quite difficult to see the cross on the central slab. The southern slab also bears a latin cross in false relief. Hopefully we will get improved images on our next visit. From the church entrance head east to the edge of the enclosure. Station 6 should be visible from here.

St Colmcille's bed and Ambry

Ambry with curing stones

Southern cairn, cross slab

Central cairn

Pictured above is the central cairn with a small cross slab sitting on top. Below you can see the cairn to the north of the oratory in the foreground, the central cairn to the left with south cairn in the background. To the right, you can see the cross slab on station 4 breaking the horizon line. The bottom pic shows the cross slab on the north cairn.

Situated: From Station 3 head back towards the town. Take the first right turn. Drive to the end of this road sign-posted St Colmcille's chapel. The church ruin can be seen or your right. Walk through the farmyard (Please ask) and turn right. Go through the gate to the chapel.

Discovery Map 10. G 5240 8580. Last visit Sept 2010.

Longitude: 8° 44' 19" W

Latitude: 54° 43' 5" N

Google Map.

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

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