Pictured here are some of the buildings and gravestones of Clonmacnoise, Co Offaly.
Clonmacnoise is a ruined monastic site on the banks of the River Shannon. It is of great importance in Irelands history. Its name stems from Cluain Mhic Nóis, meaning The Meadow of the Sons of Nós. It was founded in the year 543 by St Ciaran.
Ciaran was born in 516 in Roscommon, son of a chariot maker and he is known as one of the 12 apostles of Ireland. He studied in Clonard in Co Meath, and after his studies he went on to become a teacher himself. When he left Clonard in 534 he travelled to Inismor, the largest of the Aran islands off Irelands west coast. It was here that he was ordained a priest under St Enda.
St Enda was the one who told Ciaran to found a church and a monastery in the centre of Ireland.
Ciaran initially settled slightly further north, but in 543 founded Clonmacnoise. While it is known today for its variety of stone churches and towers, Ciaran never saw these built as one year later, he died of yellow plague which had already claimed almost half the population of Europe.
This area was considered to be a cross roads in Ireland. From east to west, visitors would cross the river Shannon here as they travelled from Dublin to the west of the country. Its strategic location saw it become a major centre of religious learning and craftsmanship as well as trade. By the 9th century it was among the most well known places in Ireland. Scholars from all across Europe travelled to Clonmacnoise to study.
Perhaps one of this places most notable students was Alcuin of York. He went on to become the private tutor of Charlemagne, generally considered to be the first Holy Roman Emperor.
Clonmacnoise saw its main growth from the 8th to the 12th centuries during which the wooden structures came to be replaced with stone buildings. Its population soared to almost 2000 people and it began to create fine treasures in bronze and gold as well as elaborate art works and stone carvings. As is always the way though, such art and treasure brought bloodshed and murder. During these four centuries, the site was attacked 27 times by the Irish, 7 times by Vikings and 6 times by Normans. Each time brought massive desctruction, but each time the men who lived here rebuilt and continued.
In the 12th century, its fortunes changed and the site began a steady decline. The nearby town of Athlone had began to grow considerably, and became the main centre of trading in the midlands. People began to relocate in Athlone from Clonmacnoise and the importance in the site fell rapidly. Important alliances with local lords and kings began to fail as the influence of Clonmacnoise waned. IN addition to this, many new religious orders had arrived from Europe including the Franciscans, Augustinians and Benedictines and more and more competing religious sites began to appear around the country.
In 1552 it was utterly destroyed by the English troops garrisoned in Athlone and lay as a ruin for many hundreds of years.
In Victorian times, local wealthy families enjoyed the site as a place to picnic, leaning against the ancient graves while enjoying their dainty delicacies. Finally, it was handed over to the Office of Public works who carried out carried considerable conservation works to restore the site and make it the place we know today. In 1979 Pope John Paul II made Clonmacnoise a stop on his visit to Ireland and held mass here.
The site is known for its cathedral, many churches and round towers, as well as the impressive array of detailed grave slabs and high crosses.
The most celebrated crosses here are Cross of the Scriptures, a 4 metre high sandstone cross and which dates from the 9th century as well as the North Cross, the oldest on this site and dating to the 8th century. These are considered among the most important high crosses in Ireland. Interestingly, the decoration of the North Cross is not Christian, but instead depicts an image of Cernunnos, the Celtic god of hunting.
The most prominent building we can see in this picture is Temple Rí (the Kings Church) and behind that we can see some of the main Cathedral.
The many gravestones scattered around here feature a fascinating insight into Irish history, and many feature the names of Irelands great warrior families.
Some of the greatest and most beautiful artifacts of early Irish art and of irish stone and metal work are associated with the site, including the Cross of the Scriptures and the Clonmacnoise Crozier which is on display at the National Museum of Ireland.
Thanks for looking!
Critiques | Translate
Schnappilic (9692) 2014-02-09 10:22
Impressive atmosphere in your picture with old grave stone. If we were in the eighteenth century. Congratulations!
Miguel82 (27752) 2014-02-09 10:47
A cemetery and ruins in the Irish moors, it's raining everyday so the lawn of that place has a special green hue, excellent resolution, only celtic crosses in that place, all the best Noel, have a good start of week
cornejo (47266) 2014-02-09 11:16
Hi Noel, Excellent photo of this interesting composition with the old cemetery and the ruins of monaterio, very good shot, great sharpness, nice light and colors, very good job well done, congratulations my friend, thank you for sharing this beautiful work.
Good evening and happy start to the week.
Best regards from southern Spain.
carlo62 (55716) 2014-02-09 13:24
un altro sito molto interessante, per la sua storia e per ciò che evoca, anche se non sembra ben tenuto.
La tua foto è molto bella, le tante croci, soprattutto celtiche, sono sparse per tutto il prato verde, come di solito riesco a vedere solo in tv o nei film.
tyro (26142) 2014-02-09 13:36
Again an interesting and informative note and a delightful photograph of these ruined monastic buildings surrounded by old higgledy piggledy gravestones. And it's a scene which you would only come across in Ireland - or, perhaps, Scotland.
Your composition is very pleasing and the soft light really brings out all the natural colours as well as the rough textures and details of the ancient crumbling stonework. And all beneath a lovely sky.
Bang-on exposure and excellent details and sharpness too.
jcpix (13950) 2014-02-09 14:39
My inner ghoul could look at your pictures from places like this over and over...there's just something so inherently appealing to my senses. It never ceases to amaze me the ancient history of these sites, as everything in America is relatively "new" in contrast. This composition and perspective makes it appear as if these tombstones go up and over the hill, and who know how far beyond...all the way to the sea?? I like what it leaves to my imagination.
In a bizarre sort of way for most, but something tells me you understand perfectly...I could roam these ground for hours taking photos and looking over the details of the haunting beauty. :) The soft light has created more subtle shadows along the hillside, but enough to accent the dimension, and there's just enough color in the sky to make for that most pleasing blue/green combo. Looks like the weather parted long enough once again to take another wonderful shot...good use of your weekend! :)
Cheers from the dry side,
Royaldevon (43909) 2014-02-09 15:27
Isn't it amazing that such a wealth of history has been passed down over the generations when, in many cases, the early history, was relayed by word of mouth.
I do think that gravestones always make a fine f/g to such buildings, giving immediate attention and setting the scene. I have a great desire to read the engravings ... just cannot decipher the words even after it has been enlarged!!
The monastery is well positioned off-centre and the details are sharply rendered.
Just a minor point, I wonder whether it would have been possible to still have a good composition and get the leading path nearer the bottom l/h corner.
My warm regards,
Ha! Ha! You are right about the Olympic Flame holder resembling a large fish. I think most people picked up the connection. Perhaps I should have titled the shot 'Find Moby Dick'!
imageme (1790) 2014-02-09 17:52
Hi Noel, A beautiful image of this ruined monastic site surrounding with the gravestones of Clonmacnoise.
The low POV makes the ruin looks like it had never lost its majesty. Great colours contrasts. Thank very much
bukitgolfb301 (45377) 2014-02-09 19:41
Hi dear Noel, how are you? Sorry fotr my no contact as so busy recently
Another tasetful image of the best composition and best framework via tasetful thick and impressive color touch. The atmophere is very moody too.
All the best and have a good new week! TAKERO
Corry (4508) 2014-02-09 20:49
Très belle photo de ces vieux monuments funéraires et des ruines de l'église entourés de verdure. Belle vue d'ensemble. Bien fait.
macjake (73059) 2014-02-09 21:07
now this is awesome.
ragged jagged, misplaced, crooked, fallen over, disheveled, rotten....its the best!
clean and pristine graveyards are not for me.
Imagine this place with a spooky misty moody atmosphere, fog rolling over the tombstones etc...
I'd be creeped out at night time here!
cool shot and of course with your informative note too.
Mics (982) 2014-02-09 21:13
An interesting piece and photo documentation of Irish history. I particularly like the celtic crosses in this graveyard as this gives an impression that it has plenty of stories to tell. Very good sharpness, color and light management.
SnapRJW (31629) 2014-02-09 22:11
This is beautiful Noel. I just love the 'forest' of grave stones which appear to push through the earth at varying angles. The textures and lushness of the grass is just how I remember it and the derelict church so typical of many I saw. Congratulations on a well exposed and super shot. I like this one very much. Warm regards Rosemary
jjcordier (79297) 2014-02-09 22:54
Très belle exploitation photographique de ces tombes et de l'église en ruines. Très bonne note, très détaillée.
Romano46 (18472) 2014-02-10 1:37
i cimiteri, le lapidi e le abbazie abbandonate sono tra i tuoi soggetti che preferisco.
In questa alla composizione si uniscono colori superbi per il contrasto tra il verde acceso del prato e i colori del cielo che variano tra il grigio e l'azzurro dando alla foto un aspetto più drammatico.
Ciao e buona settimana
snunney (107477) 2014-02-10 2:21
A special place with a long and fascinating history. You have framed the shot well with the gravestones making an apt frame for the ruined church and acting as pointers. I like the light and colours. and excellent rendering of the textural detail.
pajaran (66318) 2014-02-10 5:31
Interesantan i dobar tekst o Clonmacnoise - St Ciarans City, sa istorijom i opisom ...
Lep pogled na spomenike i rusevinu u pozadini ...
Dobar snimak, kontrast, ostrina i perspektiva, lepo pokazano mesto i arhitektura, lepe boje.
Ostaju rusevine i secanje na proslost.
Lepo popodne i sve najbolje u novoj nedelji koja je pocela, srecno.
Interesting and good article about Clonmacnoise - St Ciarans City, with a history and description of the ...
Nice view of the monuments and ruins in the background ...
Good shot, contrast, sharpness and perspective, nice place and demonstrated architecture, beautiful colors.
Remain ruins and memories of the past.
Nice afternoon and all the best in the new week that started, good luck.
Subhogen (4067) 2014-02-10 6:41
From your photo I thought this place to be very old almost dating back to the ancient era and reading your note I find it indeed very old! So great portrayal over here, bringing out the true atmosphere of this place. The tombstones at the Fg and at the Bg as well provide a uniformity to the image. Well taken photo with natural light and colour. Thanks to your well researched note the whole presentation is very nice.
Thanks for sharing.
ourania (51103) 2014-02-10 14:10
the facts and descriptions in your note are really fascinating, they would provide material for many novels. Your picture has been structured in a very effective and appealing way, the graves in various styles and conditions make a great impact both as a group and individually. I like very much the culminating perspective, the sharpness on their textures and how they stand out against the fresh grass and the sky. The ruins are attractive too, well placed in the frame and bound with the view and elements that lie before them. The soft sky offers superb contrast, mood and relief from the busy setting below. Amazing that this place was used for picnics. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a good night,
fabbs99 (17179) 2014-02-10 23:46
This is a marvelous image of the cemetery.Perfect composition and sharpness.Keep sharing. TFS
Kamilutka (8107) 2014-02-12 4:18
similar scenery to the previous photo but maybe this one has a little more of the atmosphere of the past. The celtic crosses surrounding the ruins of the chapel are often squinting as under the weight of the time.
The chapel, roofless but still proud takes its place on the top of the hill.
Pretty colors, very nice composition and well given sharpness.
Thanks for sharing
danos (103212) 2014-02-13 0:41
nice the view of the gravestones as create a very effective texture lead-in the eye on the ruin of the chapel.The cloudy sky with the grass to cover the ground makes the image even more attractive.
delpeoples (59846) 2014-02-14 4:14
Wow, as much of a ghoul as I am, I really couldn't imagine leaning back against these graves and enjoying a ham sandwich. I'd be too afraid that I get permanently haunted by the poor souls I was desecrating. Anyway, a great side angle photo, which shows the layout well and has captured the textures and architectural details superbly. Nice work and I hope you are nearing Beer o'clock.
Cheers and happy weekend
abmdsudi (58260) 2014-02-14 23:20
I like the moody feel to this shot, it suits the subject beautifully without over doing it. It's surreal!! the aged gravestones are so nicely spaced out I think the way you have framed and exposed this photo elevates it bearing in mind the weather condition there and all the more interesting for it. And they stood the test of time and what a wonderful green and amazingly standout shot. A very fine photo work, well done
omid266 (6750) 2014-02-16 7:49
** Salam , Hi Noel ,
Good night ,
Thank you for sharing this important foto ,
Very nice work from this ancient place ,
Full and useful Text used in text ,
The colour of gravestones and building is new for me
and different from those i saw before ,
All the best ,
** Hope and wish for support this monuments **
pierrefonds (71691) 2017-02-05 13:18
The cemetery is framing well the ruins. The point of view is showing the details of the tombstones and the ruins. The good luminosity is giving good colours rendering. Have a nice day.
- Copyright: Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) (33726)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2014-02-09
- Categories: Castles, Ceremony, Architecture, Artwork, Ruins
- Camera: Canon EOS 60D
- Exposure: f/10.0, 1/125 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2014-02-09 9:00
- Favorites: 1 [view]