Faughart - Early Ecclesiastical Remains

What is visible at Faughart is a semi-circular graveyard containing the ruins of a church, a holy well, the base of a high cross and some penitential stations. When viewed collectively, these monuments are a fine example of the type of remains found on early monastic settlements in Ireland. As such, Fuaghart is directly comparable with places such as Monasterboice, Clonmacnoise and Glendalough.

On the basis of archaeological, topographical and documentary evidence, a minimum total of 14 pre-Norman ecclesiastical settlements can be identified in Louth. Though they have come down to us in varying degrees of preservation, these remains are characterised by a number of recurrent features, including the dedication of the site to an early saint and the proximity of a townland boundary and an associated graveyard. The most diagnostic features of early monastic settlements are high crosses, round towers, early stone oratories as well as early ecclesiastical enclosures. Bullaun stones, cross-slabs and pillars, saint's beds, holy wells and house foundations are also frequently associated (for further details, see Hughes and Hamlin 1997). A number of recurrent, though much later, features also occur, principally leachtaí (stone-built tables often surmounted by a cross slab) and penitential stations. These can take a variety of forms, such as the circular feature at Faughart recorded by Wright as 'St. Bridget's Stone' (his Figs. 1 and 2).

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