Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ardmore and Ardmore Cathedral

On our drive from Kinsale to Enniscorthy, we stopped at the community of Ardmore, a funky little beach town on a small inlet with a little beach.

Our goal was the intact 12th-century tower, the 8th-century oratory where St. Declan (who brought Christianity to Ireland in 446 A.D., but lacked the press machine St. Patrick had), and a ruined church, all set in an extensive cemetery of ancient graves right up to the present day. We were well supervised on our visit - things must be boring here for the cattle.
Ardmore Cathedral dates from about the 9th century and was formally recognized as a cathedral in 1170.

Its most unusual feature is a series of sculptural reliefs on an exterior wall telling stories from the Bible. Considering their age (and the weather hereabouts), they're in remarkable condition:
Adam and Eve, about to be expelled from the Garden of Eden:

Inside the cathedral is an "ogham" stone, preserving traces of the early Medieval Old Irish language. Ogham is sometimes called the "Celtic Tree Alphabet," based on a tradition ascribing names of trees to the individual letters.

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