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Cooley Monastic Settlement
 

County

Donegal

Coordinates

N 55° 11' 19.86"   W 007° 03' 40.56"

Nearest town

Moville

Grid Ref.

C 59779 38356

Map No.

3

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

86

Date of visit

Monday 29 June 2015

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The enclosure with the monastic settlement seen from the gate at the west side of the complex.


This is a place that I've dreaming of visiting again for 13 years. Our first visit was on May 6th, 2002.

Here was a monastery founded in the 6th century by St. Finian, who was also its first abbot. It lasted until the 12th century.
The graveyard where the monastery was includes the ruins of two very ancient churches. One is a parish church from the 13th or 14th century, the other one is a plantation church built in 1622 and destroyed in 1688. Both churches are aligned to the east (90°). At the east end of the graveyard is an unusual stone structure shaped like a house, with one slit window in the east wall and only a small lintelled door in the west wall, called "The Skull House". It was built in the 12th century as a shrine for the relics of the monastery founder. Inside this structure some human stones can be seen. I don't know whether they are St. Finian's bones!
The graveyard is surrounded by an almost rectangular stone enclosure.

In the graveyard there are several interesting grave markers, stone crosses and other stones dating as early as the 7th century.


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