Rundturm in Clonmacnoise

31.08.2006 Monastery, Crosses and Terrorists
Bye bye Galway and bye Irish west coast. It was nice, we liked it but with this weather we can´t stay. Actually our time here is over anyway. Today we drive to Irelands middle. There near to Athlone is the river Shannon and on the riverside the famous monastery of Clonmacnoise.

Clonmacnoise sign
Cross of Scriptures
Altar in Clonmacnoise

Clonmacnoise (Irish Cluain Mhic Nóise, „Meadow of the sons of Nóise“; is a unique monastery ruin in Ireland in County Offaly at the river Shannon. Its history ranges back to the 6th century after Christ. Today the location is one of the most visited tourist attractions of the green Isle. The former monastery is situated only a few kilometers to the south of Athlone, close to the geographical center of Ireland

Cross of Scriptures Clonmacnoise

The monastery itself was founded by St. Ciaran, another of all these famous Irish Saints. It became fast one of the spiritual centers.
Unfortunately the monastery is located directly at the riverside and the river was also used by raiding Vikings, which had an occasional stop by for a summer sale. Much to the bad luck of the monks. However therefore Clonmacnoise has two instead of one round tower. But what does such a tower help if you see the enemy coming but are still helpless? Today rest houseboats at the marina and some other boats cruise slowly along the loops that the river here makes.

The monastery is further famous for its high crosses with more than 1000 years of age. The best known is the cross of scriptures, basically a spiritual picture book.

the South Cross der zweite Rundturm Clonmacnoise

Cross of the Scriptures
The inscripts, today barely readable, provide the idea that this cross was dedicated to the High king Flann (877-915 n.Chr.) The about 4 m high cross is chiseled from sandstone and probably made in the 10th century. The biblical figures show the treason of Judas, the capture of Jesus and the  custody of Jesus´grave. But there are also profane embodiments like the help of King Diarmuid at the erection of a church or knights, chariots, hunters and animals.

Schleife des Shannon

Not bad, but somehow very time consuming. However, now quickly back on the main road, we have some way to go. Cross country or motor way is the question at Kinnegad. No more experiments we take the farther but safer way on the motor way. Short of Dublin to the North to Dundalk, then the motor way ends. What we see here is a shortsighted piece of Nationalism. Even though Dublin and Belfast are by far the largest cities in Ireland, the narrow minded British government did formerly not find it necessary to built a connection to the South to the misliked Irishman. Only today they have started to close the gap. Anyway its one lane for the time being and tenacious. There is no visible border anymore, but somehow one shall change money know is written on some signs.

hausboote Shannon
Ruinen von Clonmacnoise Castle

Schengen on one the British pound on the other are responsible for these phenomena. How do you recognize that you are in the United Kingdom? Yes its miles instead of km. Spleeny Albion. Otherwise all roads are controlled by cameras and the Union Jack flies everywhere. Barely believable that 10 years ago there was kind of a civil war and everywhere people were threatened by IRA assaults. Today only some posters remember the heroes (catholic reading) or terrorists (Protestant reading) from back then.

Hopefully the old bullish heads will come together soon. From Newry its 2 lanes again and we roll towards Belfast. And pass by, because our hotel is close to the airport, which is quite outside. The hotel with the charm of the sixties is named Chimney corner and rather fair beside the bathroom. But we have no pounds with us (beside the pounds on the ribs). Fortunately the hotel accepts credit cards and books the amount to the room bill.

ein Hausboot auf dem Shannon

 And the prices are OK. I have Steak and potatoes for diner and Nicole has some fish also very delicious. To drink, Guinness of course, even if its North Ireland and Nicole? No, no Bulmers, its not served here. A scandal isn´t it? Not really because its marketed here under the brand Magners. Everything else is identical. Funny but true..Magners
On the room we add another healthy Guinness. Then its enough for today. God save the Queen (or how do they say good night here?
Hotel: The Chimney Corner **


now we drink Whisky....