Carndonagh

The Marigold Stone

The Stele known as the Marigold Stone is situated in the graveyard next to the Carndonagh High Cross. This pillar Stone stands 1.68 metres tall and is approximately 43 cms wide. It is carved on all four sides, but it is the east and west faces of the stele that bear the most fascinating carvings. The west face pictured right, bears a flabellum (a liturgical fan) the head of which consists of a large circle with a seven petalled marigold inside it. In Peter Harbison's book Pilgrimage in Ireland the monuments and the people, he suggests that the flabellum may imitate a relic of Saint Colmcille. At the bottom of the flabellum are two large loops used for either holding the fan or for hanging it up. On each side of the handle are two figures carrying what may be crosiers. These two figures are thought to represent two pilgrims. Figures carrying a staff or crosier and carrying a satchel are generally thought to represent a pilgrim. There are many other examples of this type of figure carved in stone around Ireland, amongst them are the Bishops Stone at Killadeas. One of the beautifully carved figures at White Island may also represent a pilgrim. We don't have to travel very far from the marigold stone to find another example, as one of the two pillar stones on either side of Carndonagh cross also bears a figure that probably represents a pilgrim.

 

Below these two figures is another symbol associated with pilgrimage, the cross of arcs. This carving appears on many pilgrimage sites throughout Ireland from as far afield as Carndonagh to the Dingle peninsula in Kerry. The decorated stele at Reask would be a fine example.

The eastern face of the pillar pictured left bears a rather unique crucifixion scene. The figure Christ is placed upon an equal armed cross and his head protrudes above the pillar stone. A band of interlace hangs from the bottom of the cross. The band finishes with a tripartite knot. On each side of the band of interlace is a figure sculpture that may represent Longinus and Stephaton. Below the knot is another equal armed cross decorated with a beautiful interlace carving. The north and southern sides also bear decoration.

Lintel

Also present in the Church of Ireland graveyard at Carndonagh are two pieces of a carved lintel from a much earlier christian church. These two carved stones are shown below.

Situated: Very easy. From Buncrana head north on the R238. Then turn left onto the R244. You will then meet the R238 again in Cardonagh. As soon as you turn right onto the R238 the Marigold Stone is situated in the Churchyard is situated on your right.

Discovery Map 3: C 465 450. Last visit April 2010.

Longitude: 7° 16' 7.47" W
Latitude: 55° 14' 59.28" N

Google Map.

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

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