Friday, 8 February 2013

Castledermot Cross Slabs & Hole Stones



The final stones of interest to be found at St. James churchyard are a number of Cross slabs and two Holed Stones. Whilst the origin, date and purpose of these stones are not really understood, chances are they were some form of monument used by our pre-Christian ancestors. Like many other traditions of the pre-Christian people their beliefs and customs were absorbed into the new belief system.


 So these special stones eventually ended up as grave markers over the course of time.  The first stone is probably "Swearing Stone", "Leac na Mionn" or the "Stone of the Oath", it may well have been used during ancient wedding ceremonies and or as  contract stone where by a contract was sealed by the shaking of hands through the hole, similar to the "Oath of Odin" in Viking culture. The second stone is quite different from the first in the fact that half the stone lies buried.


There are also a number of early Christian Cross slabs, One is a roughly cut cross shape whilst the other just has a plain double lined cross carved into one side. Both of these are located near the South High Cross. There are many of these stones to be found scattered the length and breadth of the country. Some may be easier to find than others.


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