Carrowntemple Cross Slab




N 53° 58' 01.4"   W 008° 34' 20.5"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

G 62486 02118

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Thursday 5 June 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The slabs aligned against the wall behind the southeast side of the church.

It is said that the early monastery at Carrowntemple was founded by two brothers whose name have never been recorded.
At the time of Queen Elizabeth I, this monastery belonged to Ballymote castle. The slabs found here went almost unnoticed until 1973 and have much more elaborate designs than other slabs to be found in county Sligo.

The slabs that we see today here are replicas of the original ones that are preserved at the Treasury of the National Museum of Ireland.
Behind the slabs are the ruins of a plain medieval church with only the south wall still surviving though completely overgrown. A souterrain to the west would have served for refuge and storage and there's another slab decorated with a triskele in a circle.

According to the explaining board at this site, there should be 14 slabs, but I only counted 11 slabs aligned against a wall along a northeast-southwest (65°-245°) axis. A double-sided slab stands away from the wall and perpendicular with the others at the southwest end of the row. It shows a human figure on its northeast face and a knotted cross on the other face. The human figure has a funny aspect, with a big round head and a mouth with swollen lips, long arms and very short legs with its feet pointing outwards. Its belly-button is well visible. The slab with this figure is 96 centimetres tall and 44 centimetres wide.
So I found only 13 slabs at this site, not 14.
The place was infested with thousands of midges, we had to make our visit as quick as possible!
-Slabs 2 and 3 have art derived from the pagan Celtic Iron Age art. Slab 3 is similar to a design in the Book of Durrow dated 650 AD.
-Slabs 3-4-5-6-8-11 the design is formed by a band and not a groove.
-Slab 14 has only the beginnings of a design.
-Slab 10 human figure on east side, knotted cross on west side.

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