Monday, 29 August 2022

The Nethercross, Finglas, Dublin

 The Nethercross, Finglas, Dublin


The County of Dublin is a Patchwork Quilt of villages. 
Look a little closer or dig a little deeper and you will find the evidence of village life from medieval, Viking, early Christian, Celtic and even prehistoric settlement dotted about the County.


Indeed places such as Ballyfermot, Finglas, Blackrock, Blanchardstown and Ballymun were once not huge and sprawling suburbs housing a growing population but were instead a myriad of small interconnected settlements, villages and ecclesiastical sites.


Small reminders of the past and various artefacts and antiquities are visual clues as to previous settlement and land usage throughout the County. 


Often these reminders are right in front of us and we have become so accustomed to our modern environment that we don't even see them as we pass by.


The Church of Saint Canice and the Nethercross in Finglas are one such reminder.


The Nethercross is located in the medieval Church ruins of Saint Canice in Finglas where it's believed the Saint founded a Monastery which preceded the present Church ruins located on the site.

 

The High Cross originally stood at a place nearby called Watery Lane but was buried in 1649 to save it from destruction by Cromwellian troops who had arrived in Ireland. 


It remained buried and forgotten for 160 years until a Reverend Robert Walsh determined to find it.
 
He thankfully succeeded and the High Cross is on public display in the Church Graveyard.


The name of the Cross originates from the terms Uppercross and Nethercross (Lowercross). 

These were two Baronies. Nethercross included Finglas, Ballymun and several other civil parishes in north County Dublin.


The High Cross is a large ringed imperforate granite Cross. A Cross in relief is carved onto one face and there are also spiral designs carved onto it. 

While not as elaborately carved as some other Crosses it is nonetheless quite beautiful in its understated simplicity.


It is believed that the original Abbey of Saint Canice here at Finglas was attacked several times by Vikings and had succumbed by the 9th or 10th century to ruination.


In 2004 the grave of a high status Viking woman was uncovered in Finglas village. 

A wooden box, Brooches and an antler comb were among some of the items found at the burial site. 




These are on display at the archaeological museum in Dublin.

There are several interesting family vaults and gravestones in the graveyard at Saint Canice's Church.



The Church ruin, High Cross and graveyard are kept locked. Access can be gained through calling at a nearby Cottage and asking the Keyholder for the key. 




There is a contemporary Celtic Cross memorial to Brigadier Dick McKee, an IRA volunteer who was murdered in Dublin Castle in 1920 in tit for tat reprisal for the assassinations of British agents on Bloody Sunday in Dublin, 1920.


Keep the wheels turning.

















Sunday, 17 July 2022

Waterstown High Cross, Carlow

 Waterstown High Cross

Waterstone High Cross

There's a wonderfully quiet and secluded Hillock at Waterstown in Carlow which is a delight to visit. Although actually right beside a small road if feels like taking a step back in time.

Waterstone High Cross 

It's hard to explain but I found it very atmospheric, almost ephemeral as if it would soon vanish in the occasional mists.

Waterstone High Cross

On this innocuous hilly mound are to be found two beautiful Crosses. 

One an imperforate/solid wheeled High Cross and the other a later medieval Cross with damaged arms and a crucifixion scene carved on Limestone in mid relief.

Waterstone High Cross

The entrance to the Crosses is marked by two small granite posts in a roadside hedge. 

I always seem to find particular enjoyment in visiting a site where there is no carpark, Visitor Centre or signage. Places like this exude a unique charm and aura of their own.

Waterstone High Cross

They are often quite peaceful and tranquil while appearing like the title of a Tom Hardy book "far from the madding crowd". 

It seems they provide moments of sanctuary or respite however fleeting from modernity and the hustle and bustle of every day modern life.

Waterstone High Cross

There are other antiquities located both here and nearby which I didn't realise at the time of my visit.

Waterstone High Cross

 They include Saint Patrick's Well across a field, an Ogham Stone a few fields away (is a field even a recognised unit of measure) a holed stone on the hillock itself somewhere which I never saw (and which Irish Stones describes as a broken cut marked Bullaun Stone) and the base of a Cross literally 100 meters away on the roadside junction which is used as a Shrine and which I also completely missed.

Waterstone High Cross

The roadside Cross base is most likely the original base of the Cross on the hillock at Waterstown itself.

Waterstone High Cross

Interestingly enough OSI 1800's historic mapping shows the nearby junction where the Cross Base is used as a Shrine as Cloghaphuill which can be interpreted as "the holed stone".

Waterstone High Cross

 It also shows a Church and Graveyard now disappeared which were once located here by the Hillock.

OSI Historic Mapping - Waterstown

This somewhat esoteric and remote site  was apparently at some stage in the not too distant past a reasonably well frequented ecclesiastical settlement of local importance.

Waterstone High Cross

It was somewhat overcast with unusual lighting conditions under the thickets of wild brambles, nettles and shrubbery. 

My efforts at photography reflect my less than perfect skills rather than expressing the beauty of the location itself as I had intended.

Waterstone High Cross

Do take the time to visit Waterstown if you happen to ever be in the area and keep the wheels turning.

Waterstone High Cross

Coordinates here :

52°53'18.8"N 6°40'47.1"W

52.888545 - 6.679760

Library Ireland/S. Lewis/Topographical Dictionary Of Irl/Rathvilly


Waterstone High Cross

And just a short mention to say that if you throw a stone hard enough from here either North or North-West it will land in Wicklow. You are right on the Wicklow/Carlow border at Waterstown.

Waterstone High Cross

Waterstone High Cross

Waterstone High Cross

Waterstone High Cross

Waterstone High Cross

Waterstone High Cross

Waterstone High Cross

Below are just a few streestscape photographs from nearby Rathvilly.

Waterstone High Cross

Waterstone High Cross

Waterstone High Cross