Your Basket

No products in the basket.

Marigold Stone, Carndonagh

The original Irish name of Carndonagh, (Carn Domhnach) means the burial mound of the church, referring to this site which was once the location of a church founded by St. Patrick in the fifth century. It developed into a prosperous and influential monastery. Irish monastic schools were celebrated throughout Europe for their teaching and students came from all over the continent to study not only biblical subjects, but also classical Greek and Roman literature. Carndonagh also gained prominence as a place of pilgrimage due to links with both St Patrick and St Columba.
Places made holy by the blessings and presence of the Saints through relics became the focus of pilgrimages, particularly celebrated on the feast days of the saints. Seeking spirituality through fasting, penance and prayer, the pilgrims would follow a prescribed route. Pillar stones and crosses were made to mark the significant points on these routes.

The Marigold Stone, the Donagh Cross and some other interesting pillars and carvings this fascinating era.

marigold stone diagram,

1.The Marigold Stone is named after this seven petalled motif with a long stem or handle. It is thought to depict the Cuilebaidh, a relic of Saint Colmcille which is believed to have been a flabellum (a liturgical fan used in warm climates to keep flies away from the alter). The Greek key patterned stem ends in two loops imitating leather thongs for hanging up the fan when not in use.
2. Two figures are dressed in knee-length robes. The figure on the right holding a drop-headed staff or crozier and carrying a satchel has been identified as a pilgrim. The figure on the left holds what may be a tau crozier with a vertical slot carved above the pointed foot. In the old Irish Annals, the expression “he took the staff ” was used to describe someone on a pilgrimage.
3. This cross of arcs which forms a Maltese cross in recess appears in carvings on many pilgrimage sites throughout Ireland.

5. This unusual domed projection forms the top of the enlarged head of Christ. Early Irish representations of crucifixion focused on Christ’s triumph rather than his suffering and as clearly seen here Christ is depicted with open eyes and a broad smile.
6. Two figures whose robes are emblazoned with a cross possibly depict ecclesiastical personages or saints.
4. 8. The Eastern Mediterranean influence is apparent in the many Greek key or maze patterns.
7. 9. Various crosses and motifs also feature Celtic interlace.

Copyright © Faller 2015. Reference from Peter Harbison’s book, ‘Pilgrimage in Ireland: The Monuments and the People’. With special thanks to Seán Beattie and the Donegal Historical Society.