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Donacavey Cross
 

County

Tyrone

Coordinates

N 54° 30' 47.94"   W 007° 18' 32.94"

Nearest town

Fintona

Grid Ref.

H 44736 62987

Map No.

18

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

105

Date of visit

Saturday 1 June 2019

GPS Accuracy (m)

4
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The path that leads to the graveyard. The cross shaft is on a side of the path, almost lost in the hedge.


In the countryside north of Fintona is a rather rectangular old graveyard with some very old headstones and the poor ruins of a 16th or early 17th century church of which only a segment of the east wall with fragments of the adjoining north and south walls survive. It is said that this church was destroyed in 1641 during the Irish Rebellion.

It is locally believed that St. Patrick visited this area and founded the first Christian church of Donaghcavey.
The name Donaghcavey comes from the Irish Domhnach a' Chabha, meaning "Church of the Hollow". Because a few churches have been built on the site of the previous ones, the hollow is now long gone.

The most fascinating thing here is the shaft of a cross, locally known as the St. Patrick's Cross, which stands in the hedge along the north side of the path that goes to the old graveyard.
It can be easily missed. It's about 60 metres east from the graveyard gate, with the decorated side facing south-southwest (220°).
This side is decorated with abstract and interlaced motifs.
The shaft is 80 centimetres tall, 28 centimetres wide and 18 centimetres thick. It stands on a double step plinth that is 29 centimetres high.
The shaft is broken at about 20 centimetres from the plinth. The cross has been reported as being damaged by a local group of men in the early 19th century as a reprisal for the damaging of a monument in Dublin.

On the top of the shaft is a 9 centimetres deep socket which was the seat for the tenon of the head of the cross, now missing.
In the years, people would believe that the water that accumulates in the socket could cure eyes ailments by dropping a pin in the water.


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