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A visit to Castledermot in Ireland with Stephen.
The other day I found myself near Castledermot so thought it was high time to visit the high crosses AND discover some interesting, holed stones that stand here too !
Castledermot stands some 50 miles southwest of Dublin .The name Castledermot originates from Diesart Diarmada – or Dermot’s hermitage, named from the Saint that founded a monastery here in the beginning of the 9th Century.
As we stroll around, we can see that the site is rich in history and artefacts . There is a round tower , the remains of a Romanesque doorway from a large church, two high crosses and the base of a third: several carved grave slabs and two holed stones. There are some nicely presented signs detailing the history of the monastery. We are told that the Monastery flourished in its early years before being plundered by the Vikings in the 9th century and again in the 11th Century – more about the Viking influence later …
Let’s start with looking at the high crosses. Dating from the 9th century they are richly carved on all faces with a mixture of Celtic designs and stories from scripture . Although weathered over the centuries we can still see images that include the crucifixion, Daniel in the lion’s den, the sacrifice of Issac , Adam and Eve and an image of saints Paul and Anthony receiving bread from a raven. These carvings were used by the monks to explain the stories from scripture long before books were printed .
Not far away are some interesting stones. The first that we will see is called a “Hogback” and are said to date from the 10th century and the Viking era. Evidence of the Viking travels can be seen here as this stone’s particular design originates in Viking settlements in Scandinavia.
The curved ridge design and look is termed as a house of the dead , or grave marker , it is thought that this example may be the tomb of an important member of the Viking tribe and could also make the location of a Saint’s grave.
Look at the stone pillar with a perfectly rounded hole – This stone is called “ Leac na Mionn “ – the Stone of the oath .
Long ago this was an important stone at which vows were made and disputes settled. The deal was sealed by the shaking of hands through the hole.
Once again, this tradition comes from the Vikings who held similar holed stones in high esteem , such as the “ Oath of Odin “ , which is located north of Scotland on the Orkney Islands.
This is what I love about Castledermot , it is a mixture of the Celtic , Christian and Viking cultures that has shaped our history and heritage.
I hope that you enjoyed todays walk. Our Black Friday Event has begun and we have Free shipping when you spend 30 over at www.connemaramarble.com so if you have a list to be filled you will find the perfect gift at fantastic value take care and see you next time, Stephen.
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Please enter your contact details here and your question and I will answer it as soon as possible, many thanks. Stephen