I've just finished reading a fantastic book- 'To the Lake' by Kapka Kassabova where the author visits Lake Ochrid which is bordered by North Macedonia, Albania and Greece. It sounds a fascinating place. This is one of the buildings she visits- St Atanasij cave church - which is built into the cliff on the north western side of the lake. Blindingly bright outside, inside dark and covered with ancient fresco's. The frescos are thought to date from the 1370's and the building a little earlier. The chuch is dedicated to an archbishop of Alexandria - Athanasius
Kilmacrenan Old Church: Built after 1622 opposite the friary of c.1537. The site of a castle is also recorded nearby. The church was restored in the eighteenth century and the tower is thought to date from then. The church was abandoned in the mid nineteenth century in favour of a new church in the village. This is a beautiful and atmospheric place.
Clogherny Wedge Tomb, on high ground between Plumbridge and Donemanagh. It's a wet climb through the boggy slopes but well worth it . The tomb is thought to date from around the Early Bronze Age of 2,500 years ago and is surrounded by a ring of probably later standing stones. These were shown in an excavation of 1937 to be linked to the monument by cobbles.
It is likely that this site is associated with St Colman, Abbot of Lindisfarne in 662 during the Synod of Whitby where it was decided that Northumbria would follow the Roman timing of Easter. He resigned and, with most of his monks ,returned to Iona. Between 665 and 667 he is understood to have founded several Scottish churches, probably including this one, afterwards sailing to Ireland with his disciples. Two small cross-slabs in the graveyard have been highlighted by some as suggesting that this was a church of some importance in the Early Christian period but there is little in the written record. This cross dates from the 14th or 15th century. It has an inscription in Latin which states:
HEC EST C/RVX PER T/AVEISUM (fJ/ATRICII ME/DICLIM
PRO A/NIMABUfsJ PAT/RIS ET MATR/IS ET UXORI/S SUE
AC OMN/IUM FIDELIUM/DEFUNCTOR/fuJM ET DICTI . . .
'This is the cross by Thomas, son of Patrick, doctor, for the souls of his father, mother and wife, and of all the faithful departed, and of the said...' A preceding church was demolished in 1827 to be replaced with a hall and tower church with buttresses against the tower giving it a spiky Gothick appearance . This hasn't been used since 1977 and is now sliding into ruin. It is an atmospheric place.
Principal power centre of the Dal Riata who ruled much of south west Scotland and the north coast of Ireland in the Early Christian period. This site is thought to have been in use from around 2000 BC but was used by the Dal Riata from c.500 to 850 AD. The fort is on a rocky outcrop above a flat marshy plane connected to the sea. Terracing remains and a stone cut entrance way to the fort and an inauguration stone with carved footprints (as at may sites in Ireland). There was central stronghold on the summit of the hill and two outer fortified enclosures on natural terraces lower down. St Colmcille (Columba) is thought to have visited the king of the Dál Riata at Dunadd when he first arrived in Argyll from Derry in the 6th century .
The map viewer looks a bit sparse for west Scotland. So here's a sketch of St Columba's Priory on Oronsay. That's on the horizon, just beside the Paps of Jura, if looking NE from the hills of Inishowen.
The fairly intact remains of an Augustinian priory survives, and as with many such foundations in Ireland, it is understood to be built on the site of a pre-existing Celtic monastery. In this case said to have been founded by St Columba, with a tradition that he moved on from here because he could still see Ireland. First mentioned in records in 1353. It was closed in 1616 as part of the Scottish Reformation. There are a number of crosses on the site. The largest is known as the Oronsay Cross and has an image of the Crucifixion with interlacing work around. It bears an inscription that says it was the cross of Prior Colin, who died in 1510.
A favourite place. The Museum of Irish Country Life, Castlebar, Co Mayo. Starkly modern museum in a historic setting. Modern sculptures in the park. Nice café too - when such things are open.
In the later half of the Nineteenth century the standard white washed vernacular houses of this area began to be replaced in the prosperous lowland areas by more formal buildings. A remaining thatched house near Claudy illustrates this development very well. An older 'direct entry' house has a two story formal house as an extension. The gable of the new house has projecting stones at high level- presumably to accommodate a taller replacement at a future date for the thatched portion.
Glendalough is a fascinating 'monastic city' set within a remote and very beautiful glen in the Wicklow mountains. Established by St Kevin in the 6th century most of the remnants that can be seen today date from the 10th to the 12th centuries. This is St Kevin's Church at the heart of the complex. Dating from the 12th century, it has the top of a Round Tower incorporated into the roof at the east end. This is an unusual but not unknown feature. A similar church is part of the complex at Clonmacnoise in the midlands for example
Lusk Church, Co Dublin, exhibits the unusual combination of a Round Tower with a later tower house attached and a nineteenth century church nave. A fascinating and romantic place. The Round Tower is thought to date from the 11th century, the Norman tower house from the 15th.
Marks of Time
Sketches of buildings in the North West and further afield with a little information about their history.