Even the name is enough to conjure up a sense of ancient legends and history half-forgotten in the mists of time. Inishowen – the peninsula at the northern end of County Donegal – is home to some of the earliest religious remains in the British Isles as well as a much older prehistoric fort. Here are a few pictures from my recent visit.
A massive stone fortress built on site of a Neolithic burial mound, the Grianan Ailigh gives spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. It was already centuries old when St Patrick supposedly baptised the leader of the O’Neill clan here in 450 AD, and it remained the seat of the High Kings of Ireland until the 12th century.
|The hilltop fortress of Grianan Ailigh|
The Donagh Cross at Carndonagh is one of the oldest and most famous of the Irish High Crosses, a 7th century Celtic cross with carvings reminiscent of druidic traditions.
|The Donagh Cross|
|The pillars by the side of the cross feature Celtic designs, in this case a bishop or abbot|
Set in an old graveyard containing the ruins of St Mura’s Monastery, the Fahan Cross (also known as the Mura Slab) is a stone slab cross, predating even the Irish High Crosses.
The monastery itself was founded by St Colmcille in the 6th century.
|The ruins of St Mura’s Monastery|