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Slabs - Cross Stones

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Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert Face

St. Berrihert

The priest St. Berrihert lived in the Galteemountains in the 8th century. It is said that two relatives were living close to him, St. Pekanun and St. Naovan of Barnlough. All three lived as monks, isolated, all alone with nature and God, all three near to sacred wells in the Glen of Aherlow

St. Berrihert

I can't help myself, to me this is not just a stone, not a cross-slab, for me it's St. Berrihert himself. Stones sometimes have an amazing variety of faces, if you open your eyes for that. I just love this one's wise and good natured "smile". Every visit at Berrihert's supposed living place leads me to this stone, that looks much bigger than it actually is.

Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert Face
Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert's Kyle

St. Berrihert's Kyle

The Kyle is first mentioned in 1907 by Crawford. He found it as a circular enclosure, much overgrown with no buildings visible. 21 stones were collected together to form a "station"

St. Berrihert's Kyle

In 1946 the Office of public Works cleared the area and collected many more slabs strewn over the place.

Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert's Kyle
Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert's Kyle

St. Berrihert's Kyle

Today´s existing stonewall was built in 1946 to incorporate the slabs. The area is approximately 36 north-south and 27 meters wide.
The Kyle close to the little village of Ardane is not easy to find though.

St. Berrihert's Kyle

Don't mind me keeping information back at this place. If you want to know more, send me an email. First it's a really special place to go to on a pilgrimage, secondly the ground is suspiciously watched by a farmer who ownes the land around the Kyle and he, so we were told, hates to see people crossing his meadows. But if nothing can shock you, one tip ... waterproofed boots are necessary, the ground is more than wet.

Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert's Kyle
Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert's Kyle

St. Berrihert's Kyle

The year before this picture was taken we left a woven cross of grass on the little altar and I was happy to see, it was still there the other year. Many people leave little things at the Kyle, pictures of saints or children, rosaries, stones, coins, little batman figures even .... it´s a special feeling to know this place is still used by people of all ages to find silence and peace, to leave a prayer, to think of people who suffer.

Cross Slabs

In 1967 there were 72 slabs, fragments of a quernstone, four roundstones, the head and base of a large cross, the head of a small cross and a slab with an incomplete inscription on it.

Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert's Kyle - Sunstone
Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert's Kyle - Sunstone

Cross Slabs

The slabs and crosses are of red, grey and yellow sandstone. Many of them show celtic ornaments such as the wheel of life or sun - designs.

Cross Slabs

Even though St. Berrihert's Kyle isn't in it's original shape it's still an amazing place and every stone seems to tell stories of old. These three are somewhat special.

Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert's Kyle - Three Slabs
Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert's Kyle - Three Slabs

Cross Slabs

The same slabs from the backside. Pay attention to the remarkable celtic ornaments on the middle stone.

Cross Slabs

Thinking of the simple tools, the monks may have used to carve ornaments into the sandstone, the complexity of knots and wattles in amazing.

Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert's Kyle - Celtic Knotes
Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert's Kyle - Slab

Cross Slabs

Theses stones were used as pillowstones and placed under the heads of a dead monks in their graves.

Cross Slabs

The head of a small cross, simple in style and shape, is bordered of even simplier stones and concrete. This way of restauration isn't perfect at all, main point was to fix the stones somehow. But it doesn't belittle the atmosphere.

Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert's Kyle - Slab
Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert's Kyle - Slab

Cross Slabs

According to the foliose lichen this slab has to be one of the oldest. The cross is barely to see.

Cross Slabs

Sweet little flower, giving some colour into the stonegrey and brown picture. Funny how one can be delighted about little wonders of nature such as a dandelion.

Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert's Kyle - Slab
Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert's Kyle - Slab

Cross Slabs

The central area of the Kyle is a number of small undecorated stones, standing upright. These mark the burial places of unbabtised children.
 
Not far from the Kyle, but even harder to find lies a very well hidden,sacred well. The annual pilgrimage to the Kyle includes a visit at the St. Berrihert's Well

Cross Slabs

St. Pekanun, one of the supposed relatives is patron of another sacred well nearby and of a chapel ruin, which includs this cross slab. Ireland houses hundreds of cross-stones and slabs with inscriptions, celtic motives. Many of them are shown with background information collected by Anthony Weir on a website called Beyond the Pale.

Images of Ireland - St. Berrihert's Kyle - Slab

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