Clonmacnoise (translated; meadow of the sons of nóis) was our first stop after arriving in Dublin and driving across Ireland, headed to Galway. It is a halfway point and is referred to as the “crossroads of Ireland”, along the Shannon River. Ireland has received about as much rain as we have back home, so the river was swollen and lapping over the banks.
A quick history:
Ciarán was the bishop who founded it in the 6th century, and it has a rather long and at times, bloody, history. It had been raided by Vikings, fellow Irishmen, and Normans, at least 40 times combined in about 400 years. Naturally, this left many buildings crumbling, though there are several churches and two towers that are still standing. Tombstones are scattered throughout the grounds, dated from as late at 1964 and back.
They have a variety of artifacts inside the museum as well, including two high crosses and tools made from animal bones, depicting the life of the 1,000 to 2,000 people who resided there at any given time.
Today, it is in operation as a highly desired location to celebrate historical religious events. Many people travel here to marvel at the ancient ruins and history it holds. We all found it to be awe inspiring and humbling to imagine all of the people who have walked this path before us.