The wild and windswept countryside, for which Ireland's North West is famed, makes the refinement of its religious sites stand out all the more. Sligo's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, for instance, with its interweaving geometric interior, stands in stark contrast to the untamed landscapes beyond. Precisely because of this strong contrast, the region's small but impressive selection of religious destinations make Ireland's North West well worth the journey.
This page details the best churches, settlements and cetlic crosses to be found in Donegal and Sligo.
Thought to date from the 7th Century and using the braid pattern popular on crosses of the time, the Carndonagh cross is a often referenced as an important moment in the evolution of high crosses in Ireland. Before this era crosses had been carved on slabs, here the slab is cut out in the shape of a cross. The central image is though to depict a scene of crucifixion.
Little is known about Fahan Mura origins or what it was originally used to represent but it is seen as the perfect example of a Celtic cross before the 7th Century. It is a cross that is engraved onto a stone slab. During the 7th Century stone slabs were more commonly shaped into the shape of a cross and then evolved into the more intricate ringed high crosses from the 9th and 10th Century onwards.
In the 6th Century St Colmcille founded a monastery in Drumcliffe. The only remains of the monastery today are 3 high crosses. The tallest of these dates from the 11th Century, it is highly decorative and unusually features a camel on the cross. The poet W.B Yeats, (1865–1939), is buried in the adjacent cemetery.
With over 60 tombs, Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery is Ireland's largest cemetery of megalithic tombs. Most of the tombs are tought to be over 5000 years old. Today an hour long tour of the tombs can be taken by visitors.
Located on a hillside, 250m above sea level, in the village of Inishowen, The Grianan Stone dates back to 1700 BC. It was built by the Tuatha de Danann after they invaded Ireland. The Grianan Stone is 5m tall and there are 3 level within its interior that lead towards the summit.