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Two-tailed Cat Weird Thing
 

County

Tipperary

Coordinates

N 52° 21' 26.82"   W 007° 55' 24.3"

Nearest town

Cahir

Grid Ref.

S 05217 22878

Map No.

74

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

56

Date of visit

Wednesday 17 June 2015

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The small stone slab goes almost unnoticed among the other stones of the arch.


This was the missing link of a short chain of sites. It all began on June 5th, 2001, when we first visited Donaghmore church. Above the Romanesque doorway of this small, gracious and ruinous church there's a tympanum that once housed a unique decoration, a two-tailed cat. It is said that Gobán Saor was wandering in the area of Clonmel looking for a job when he saw that a church was being built. He asked the site master whether they were looking for a mason, but the man answered that he could have the job only if he could prove he was really skilled, and asked Gobán Saor to carve a two-tailed cat during the short lunch break of the other masons. He chiselled that image out of a stone slab in that short time, the site master was amazed by his skill and Gobán Saor was given the job.
The carved slab was removed from the tympanum about 200 years ago. I thought it was definitely lost until I came across a picture of this place.
It is set into a stone wall above the entrance to the Swiss Cottage just outside Cahir.
The image is of a cat with two tails, one raised and bent above its back, the other is kept low, following the curve of the cat's arched back. The feline stares at the visitor, with its set of whiskers pointing down.
The slab measures 56 centimetres by 25 centimetres and it faces north (0°).
Now the circle is closed!


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