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Fahan Mura Cross Slab
 

County

Donegal

Coordinates

N 55° 04' 59.34"   W 007° 27' 38.46"

Nearest town

Buncrana

Grid Ref.

C 34436 26324

Map No.

2

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

19

Date of visit

Sunday 17 June 2018

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The cross slab seen from the southeast, with the ruins of the 17th century church in the background.


An early monastery was founded at this site by St. Colmcille for his relative and disciple Mura in the 6th century.
Today this place is an old graveyard with the ruins of a 17th century church, and a wonderful cross slab.

This cross slab dates from the 7th century and is carved on both sides with an elaborate interlaced ribbon motif to form a cross that covers the whole surface of the slab. The top of the slab has been cut into a triangle.
The arms of the carved crosses seem to project or to extend beyond the physical vertical limits of the slab.

The slab on which the crosses have been carved is 2.14 metres tall, 98 centimetres wide, but it gets 1.05 metres wide at the stumps of the crosses' arms, and it's 19 centimetres thick.
The slab's faces are aligned east-southeast (105°) and west-northwest (285°).

Due to the light conditions during my visit, the east-southeast face of the cross was much more visible and detailed than the other one.
This face shows a cross made by an interlaced motif. At the centre of the cross is a boss within two concentric circles. Four smaller similar patterns can be seen at each hollowed armpit of the cross.
In the triangle above the cross there two birds facing each other, but they are very weathered.

The west-northwest face shows a more elaborate cross made by an interlaced motif. At the centre of the cross there's an interlaced boss. On either side of the cross shaft there's a human figure dressed in a long robe. They must be two ecclesiasticals. The shaft of the cross on this face, unlike the cross on the other face, widens at the bottom to form sort of a platform or pedestal.

The north-northeast side of the slab carries an inscription in ancient Greek which has been translated as "Glory and Honour to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy".

The conditions of the slab are very poor and I think that all its details will fade away in a few years.


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