Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Ballinaclough Sheela na Gig, Tipperary

 This is just a quick post of a couple of photographs of the Sheela na Gig at Ballinaclough not far from Nenagh in Tipperary. There is easy access to the lovely roadside Church ruins.

Sheela na Gig at Ballinaclough

Well worth visiting if in the area. It's an unusual Sheela na Gig and she seems to have one hand resting behind her head.

 Sheela na Gig at Ballinaclough

It's a nice tranquil spot and with only around 120 or so Sheela's in Ireland each is worth a visit in its won right.


Sheela na Gig at Ballinaclough

Ballinaclough Church Ruins, Tipperary


Coordinates here : 

52.825582 - 8.160583



Thursday, 3 December 2020

Saint Molua in Laois

 Saint Molua

 

Saint Molua was a mid to late 6th Century monk and is remembered in Laois chiefly at a place called Old Kyle or Clonfertmulloe where he is reputedly buried and at Ballaghmore.
 
Saint Molua's Stone 
 
Molua is also remembered at Killaloe on the River Shannon in County Clare. It's place name Killaloe, means the Church of Lua. 
 
Saint Molua's Stone
 
It's believed Molua was known by several other names as well including Lugidus, Lua and Lughaidh. His feast day falls on the 4th of August.
 
 Saint Molua, Old Kyle, Laois

Not a lot seems to be known about Molua and it appears he died in the early 7th century. 
 
Saint Molua's, Old Kyle, Laois
 
As well as founding a monastic site at Killaloe he is credited with founding another at Clonfertmulloe in Laois along with many others throughout the country.
 
Saint Molua's, Old Kyle, Laois
 
There are some fragmentary remains at Clonfertmulloe from an early Romanesque Church and Saint Molua's Stone is also located here. The stone is a large multiple Bullaun Stone on which it is said, two of the marks were made when Molua used to kneel while praying.
 
 Saint Molua's, Old Kyle, Laois
 
Molua's grave is at Clonfertmulloe but when last I visited unfortunately I couldn't locate exactly where it lay. There were no markers for it and I think it may have since  become overgrown.
 
Saint Molua's Trough

Saint Molua's Trough is an interesting artifact and is located in the grounds of Ballaghmore Roman Catholic Church which is not far from Clonfertmulloe/Old Kyle. It's believed the trough may once have been used as a reliquary containing remnants or relics of Molua. As far as I am aware it was moved from its original location of Clonfertmulloe to Ballaghmore.

Saint Molua's Trough

There are some early christian Cross Slabs at Clonfertmulloe but they are difficult to make out and are decaying and degrading badly as time passes by. 
 
I have no idea why we haven't come up with some kind of epoxy clearcoating process to save Ireland's outdoor relics from the ravages of time and acid rain. Most will be unrecognisable within a century, lost forever and remembered only in print and photographs.

In County Clare Saint Molua's Church/Oratory in Killaloe was originally located at Friar's Island on the River Shannon.
 
Saint Molua's Church/Oratory
 
In 1929/30 a hydroelectric scheme was begun which would submerge the Island. The 9/10th  Century Oratory was deconstructed, placed on a barge and shipped to Killaloe and rebuilt in order to save it.
 
Saint Molua's Church/Oratory
 
Interestingly Molua has strong connections with Ulster and there's even a Saint Molua's Church at Stormont.
 
Saint Molua's Church/Oratory  

If you are passing through Laois or are living nearby you might enjoy a short detour to Old Kyle/Clonfertmulloe or Ballaghmore to take in some of the history of Molua in Laois.