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Photographer's Note

Pictured here is a building known as the Anchorite Cell, a part of the Fore Abbey complex in the village of Fore, County Westmeath.

The main Abbey is built on a marshland in the shadow of the Ben of Fore and the Ben of Houndslow in a beautiful valley. When approaching the site from the village, it appears as if the valley is littered with Monastic ruins, between the abbey itself, the 6th century church of St Feichen up the hill of Houndslow, the remains of the protective walls, the Columbarium and pictured here, the anchorite cell.

The abbey was founded by St Feichin in the year 630. Feichin himself died of the yellow plague in the 660's, but it is believed that at that time, up to 300 monks and 2000 students were in residence at this place. Between 771 and 1169, Fore was burnt at least twelve times. Because of its relationship with a French abbey, Fore was regularly seized by the English authorities as "alien Property" when England was at war with France.

In Irish folklore, the complex is known for the 7 wonders of Fore, which are:

The monastery built upon the bog.
The mill without a race (the waters of Lough Lene flows from the hill).
The water that flows uphill.
The tree that will not burn.
The water that doesn’t boil.
The anchorite in a cell.
The lintel-stone raised by St. Fechin’s prayers.

The anchorite cell (or anchorites chapel) pictured here is a stone chapel which was built onto a stone cell that was occupied by hermits until the 17th century. There is a small plaque inside the chapel commemorating the very last hermit known in Ireland, a man named Patrick Beglan. He occupied the Anchorite's cell in 1616. An anchorite is one who lives the reclusive life of a hermit for religious reasons.

This shot is taken from the cemetery in the church of St Feicin, looking up the hill at the cell. The main abbey itself is in the opposite direction.

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2219 W: 8 N: 4925] (17203)
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