The Wayside Cairn, Clonmacnoise, Co. Offaly.

Location – This one is a little tricky to find and is not easily accessible to public and is located in a cattle field on top of an esker ridge next to the pilgrim’s way between the new cemetery and the Nun’s church. It is not easily visible from the road.
OS: N 013 308 (map 47)
GPS: N 01320 30812 (Accuracy: 7m)

Description and History – The age of this cairn is hard to determine. It is much smaller than any ancient cairn I have seen so I would guess that it is Christian in origin. The earliest mention of it in any historical record is in 1026. It is square in shape with a small kerb of stones and is roughly 3.5m x 3m. Known as the ‘cairn of the three crosses’ the cairn did have three wooden crosses protruding from the mound which have now disappeared (they were still there as late as 1994). In the cairn material the heads of two ringed 19th century crosses can be seen. An early Christian grave-slab was also found here in the early 20th century. This is an intriguing little site and probably served as a place to stop and pray on the way to Clonmacnoise. My guess is that it serves a similar function to a rag tree where offerings can be left.

Difficulty – This is a little tricky. Obviously if there are cattle in the field I would advise against going into see it. There is a gate by the Nun’s church into the field. This is not open to the public as the rest of Clonmacnoise so you enter at your own risk.

Back to the Clonmacnoise menu.
 
 As seen from a distance.


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