I don't know where to begin here. Should I start with the three churches? The many cross slabs? The leachts or altars? The beautiful beehive clochan? There's simply so much here that I struggle. If I was to do a site page for each monument i would be here until the end of the year!
When you enter the cashel that houses the site you are confronted with the amazing dome of the beehive building and the first urge is to run and look inside. The way that this building is constructed demonstrates the mastery that the Irish had over stonework. It is simply stunning. To reach it you have to walk down a narrow alley and turn off to one side - the other route leads to a roofless church. There is a bench along one side of the beehive chamber and it would be easy to sit on this for hours marveling at the construction above.
The roofless church mentioned above has a square hearth at the centre, which, it is said, used to have an eternal flame burning in it. The alignment of this rectangular hearth is not the same as the church, so it could be earlier than the building. Beyond this building there are a couple of souterrains in the cashel wall.
In the centre of the enclosure there is another roofless church. The doorway of this building slopes inwards as it rises indicating a very early structure. Flanking this building are two groups of weathered, but nicely carved cross slabs.
The smallest building in the arena is a tiny church that now has a thatched roof. This is where the wooden figure of the saint was found that is now in the National Museum in Dublin. This building is cute.
Around the open areas within the compound are several more cross-slabs. Many of the cross-slabs that were once to have been seen here have been removed for safety and preservation. I believe that replicas will one day be put back in their place. There are also several leachts or altars, too. Two of these are freestanding cubes and one is built against the wall next to the tiny church.
I can only recommend that you make the pilgrimage to this wonderful island to see what is there for yourself. My words can not do any justice to it.
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This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.
Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.
Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.
The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.
UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.
ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.