Founded by St. Ciarán in the 6th century AD, Clonmacnoise is one of Ireland’s most famous early monasteries. Its high status is reflected in the historical documents which record numerous instances of Irish kings and important ecclesiastics being buried at the site. Today, evidence for these interments survives in the form of beautifully decorated grave-markers, of which nearly 700 are known. Indeed, this enormous corpus constitutes the largest collection of early medieval grave-slabs found anywhere in Atlantic Europe. A small selection of these finely decorated stones are now on display at the Clonmacnoise Heritage Center and photos of some of these grave-slabs appear below. I hope you enjoy the images.
Inscription: Oroit do Thuathal Saer. Translation: A prayer for Tuathal the craftsman.
Inscription: Oroit do Odhrán Húu Eolais. Translation: a payer for Odhrán the Knowledgeable. Odrán úa Eolais belonged to a hereditary learned family at Clonmacnoise and his death is recorded in AD 994 (Annals of Four Masters).
Inscription: Oroit do MaelMhíchil. Translation: A prayer for Mael Mhíchíl (bald/tonsured Michael). Mael, as in bald/tonsured, was often used to denote a religious figure and this slab may have marked the burial place of a cleric.
Inscription: Oroit ar Maela. Translation: A prayer for Máela. Uncertain historical figure.
Inscription: Colman + Bocht (in ogham script). Translation: Colman the Poor. This may be a member of the Meic Cuinn na mBocht family, a dynasty who provided a number of ecclesiastical officials for the monastery.