Monastic Way

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The Cathedral of Christ the King
The Cathedral of Christ the King was opened in 1936. It is Basilican in form with twin towers and a dome. The style is modernised Renasissance. The museum is situated within the Cathedral building, above the Sacristy, the entrance being at the right side of the building. It contains many artefacts of historical interest and models of church buildings in the Mullingar area from the seveenteenth century to the present. Art exhibits of various kinds, including two large canvases of Saints Loman and Colman, two saints of local origin are on display. Limited opening hours during the months May-October.

Clonfert Cathedral
How wild, impetuous designs were translated so intricately and skilfully into the stone arch of a Christian Cathedral is just as intriguing as the countless fates and legends surrounding the life of the founder, St. Brendan the Navigator. Clonfert is a site full of surprises.

The ancient monastic site of Clonmacnoise is one of Europe’s most highly regarded sites of its kind. It was founded in 545 AD by St.Ciaran. The monastic ruins are the most extensive of their kind in Ireland consisting of a Cathedral, 8 Churches, 2 round towers & 3 high crosses. There are also the remains of a 13th century castle. The site is interpreted through a modern visitors’ centre managed by Duchas.

Durrow Abbey
St Colmcille (also known as St Columba) founded a monastery at Durrow Abbey in the sixth century, and the monastery's scriptorium later produced the 'Book of Durrow', a Latin gospel, now in Trinity College Library, Dublin. Today, the site's structures include a fine High Cross, a holy well, a Georgian mansion and a derelict nineteenth-century Protestant Church.

Fore Abbey
The Village of Fore is in a Valley between two hills. Here you will see the ancient ruins of a Christian monastery. Fore is the "Town of the Springs" and was named after St. Fechin's spring, which is beside the old Church. It was St. Fechin who founded the ancient Fore Abbey around 630 A.D. By 665 A.D. there were three hundred monks living in the community. An important aspect of Fore is the "Fore Crosses" one of which is the village of Fore. There are eighteen crosses: some crosses are plain whilst others are carved. These are spread out over 10 km of roadways and in fields and bear witness to religious persecution during penal times. Fore Abbey is 4 km east of Caslepollard n County Westmeath.

Gallen Cross
This intriguing design for a ring-headed cross was carved on sandstone and is one of several on display at Gallen Priory near Ferbane.

Lemanaghan is the site of a monastery founded by St Manchan (d.665). There are poor remains of a church with some decorated stones at the windows. Inside are two cross-inscribed stones. Close to the church is a rectangular stone with worn decoration. The entire surface is divided into small diamond-shaped panels, which appear to contain spirals. Nearby is a holy well and rag tree. Beside it is a very fine bullaun stone. There is another bullaun stone built into the traffic island at the road junction nearby.

An attractive village near Lough Derg, is set in the surrounds of ancient monastic ruins. The founder, St. Ruadhan, achieved fame by cursing the high kings of Tara in the sixth century and Lorrha experienced the sensational, the spiritual and the humdrum of monasticism for many centuries. The churches, whether in ruins or still in use, are noted for their stone-carving, wood-carving and other crafts.

Monaincha Abbey
A visit to Monaincha Abbey, one of the most mystical monastic sites in Ireland or anywhere in the world, is a rewarding spiritual and artistic experience. Once an island in a lake which developed into a bog, this peaceful sanctuary with its ruins, arches and crosses has an indescribable atmosphere and was considered one of the 'wonders of the world' in medieval times.

Monastic Way
Tourist route from Dublin to Galway
The Monastic Way of Ireland is an evolving concept which gives visiting tourists and explorers and alternative route to travel from Dublin to Galway, along an ancient irish route, taking in sites of historical significance and monastic settlements.
This 'tour' through Ireland is devised so that vistors, explorers, walkers of hikers can join or leave the route easily at their leisure at variou8s points. Alternatively they can remain for longer in the most ancient monastic area of Ireland, exploring further the first monastic sites in the country.
The Monastic Way roughly follows the path of the 'Eiscir Riada'- Kings Highway - the ancient route from east to west - and incorporates County Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, Offaly, Roscommon & Galway.
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Roscrea Brooch
Perhaps the elegant shape and intricate designs of the silver Roscrea brooch once sparkled in contrast on a coarse woollen cloak of a Gaelic aristocrat.

Seir Kieran
This is the site of an important monastery founded by St Ciaran. This may have been a pagan sanctuary in previous times, and a perpetual fire is said to have burned there. Earthworks, church ruins and early gravestones mark the site of the monastery. There is also the sculptured base of a high cross. About half a km south of Clareen cross-roads are St Ciaran's Bush and Stone.

St. Manchan's Shrine
The Shrine is now magnificently displayed in the Church of St Manchan at Boher. Though damaged, the Shrine is one of the masterpieces of Irish Christian art. A house-shaped box of yew-wood has been cased in bronze, and the whole elaborately gilded and enamelled. Most of the ornamental work is of mixed Viking and Irish styles, which date the main body of the Shrine to around 1125.

St. Brigid's Well
This is an ancient spring, traditionally associated with St. Brigid. A path of stones representing the Stations of the Cross leads to a small stone beehive chapel. It is located on the old Longford Road.

The Stowe Missal
The Stowe Missal, found hidden in the walls of Lackeen Castle, near Lorrha contains a record of prayers and ancient cures. Macregol, the abbot, used ancient Celtic spirals and interlace to illuminate the Gospels that he copied in his beautiful script at Birr over a thousand years ago.



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