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Cache is a magnetic nano containing log. Please bring your own pen and a set of twizzers would be advisable. Parking is near to cache lay by. This can be a high muggled area so be careful.
While few traces of pagan religion survive in Donegal, over 130 early church sites are known, testifying to the strength of Christianity in the country at this time. Many simple cross-inscribed slabs can be found on these sites but carvings of real sculptural quality are rare.
However, at Carndonagh, on the Inishowen peninsula, carvings of remarkable quality have survived on the site of an early Patrician church located in the area around the present eighteenth-century Church of Ireland Church. There is a High Cross standing between two decorated pillars, a cross slab known as 'the Marigold Stone' and a decorated lintel from an Early Christian church.
The High Cross
The High Cross, known as St. Patrick's or Donagh Cross, has a simple and pleasing shape with short arms curving gently from the shaft. Its decoration is unusual, combining bands of interlaced ribbon with simplified figures in low relief, shown frontally and in profile.
The most prominent scene on the cross is a Crucifixion accompanied by two figures representing either Stephaton and Longinus, sponge and lance bearers, or the two thieves crucified with Christ. Below it are three figures wearing cowls and long robes, These may represent the holy women who visited Christ's tomb after the Resurrection. The two pillars are cared in the same style as the cross and apart from spiral ornament on the north pillar are covered exclusively with figures and other representational images.
he harpist on the north pillar, representing King David, is the only figure that can be identified with any certainty. The figure of the warrior on the same pillar may also be David although it could alternatively represent Goliath. The remaining side of the north pillar contains a baffling image of a large fish with a small bird, perhaps an eagle, perched on its head.
On the south pillar is a figure holding a bell and a book or satchel. Below this is a crozier, shepherd's crook or walking staff lying on its side. This figure is usually identified by the episcopal emblem as a saintly bishop or abbot. However, it has been suggested that the crozier is a walking staff and that the figure represents a pilgrim or a pilgrim saint.
The figure on the south side of this pillar continues to be enigmatic. Controversy surrounds the interpretation of the two 'horns' rising from the forehead. If they are intended to represent horns, then the figure may take on either the pre-Christian symbolism of a horned god or possibly the Christian symbolism of a devil. It seems more plausible to accept the 'horns' as locks of hair, in which case one could identify the objects on the lower part of the stone as three loaves and a poorly carved fish, and interpret the image as The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. On the north side of this pillar is a carving interpreted as Jonah and the Whale. It consists of a large human head shown in profile above a fish-like body. Only a face has been carved on the remaining side of this pillar.
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