At a Glance
County Fermanagh
OS Map 17 & 18
OS Coordinate H 205 546
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Ancient Ireland Home

Killadeas, Co. Fermanagh

Location: On the eastern side of Lough Erne. From Enniskillen, take A 32 north toward the Enniskillen airport. Continue toward the airport on B 82. Approximately five kilometers after leaving A 32 is the Killadeas area. The late 19th century Priory Church of Ireland (Killadeas Parish) is directly on B82 on the left. The stones are not signposted, so watch for the church. The various stones here are on the right side of the churchyard when facing the church. The Bishop's Stone is in the copse of trees close to the churchyard wall and road. The pillar, cupped stone and holed stone are all within meters of each other closer to the church and very visible.

Dimensions, Features and History: The large cup marked slab with the cross within a circle on the reverse side stands 1.57 meters high, 0.91 meters wide and 0.11 thick. Macalister/1949, 123, states that the stone was found within the cemetery of the parish church of Killadeas, and that it was first published by Lady D. Lowry-Corry in 1935. There are at least 12 cup-shaped hollows on the side of the slab that faces the cemetery wall. These are arranged roughly in pairs and are a strong indication that the large stone was sacred in prehistory. A sketch made by Macalister shows the "christianized" side with a deep carving of a circle within which is a cross with arm expansions in a triangular interlace (reported by Lady D. Lowry-Corry, but already weathered beyond recognition in 1949). The cross sits on a long bifurcated stem which is supported by a boat-shaped base. To the left of the cross stem according to Macalister's sketch, is an inscription reading: BENDACHT | ARART | ULUR | CAIN (a blessing upon Art ua Lurcáin). There is now no trace of this inscription.

The "Bishop's Stone" - so-called because of the low relief depiction of a cleric - is 1.05 meters high, o.39 wide and 0.23 thick. Facing the church on the broad side of this stone is a simple depiction of of an elderly ecclesiastic in a short garment, holding a crozier and a bell and wearing pointed slippers. The triangular head with the elongated nose and chin of old age and the hunched back make it easy to imagine the short, halting steps of this cleric. It is blieved to have been carved sometime between the 9th and 12th centuries. Macalister claims that in 1949, traces of an inscription could be detected on the edge of the garment of the figure. These he translated to a single word - the name ROBARTA[CH]. On the narrow edge facing away from the church drive is a grotesque head in relief, and a panel of interlace filling the space below. The head, with the rounded features of youth, stares out with rounded eyes (though it's left eye is somewhat defaced), well defined nose and slightly open mouth. Along it's left eye and cheek are striating scars - possibly indicating status or membership in some clan.

There are two other stones of note in the graveyard here, both near the large christianized cupmarked stone. Within six meters is a tall phallic-looking standing stone - approximately 1.2 meters high. Near to this stone is a wheel- shaped stone half buried in the ground, about 60 cm above the ground and 1.2 meters in width. The center hole is large enough to pass a hand through, easily.

Comments: This is quite a mixture of stonework from many ages. It has very easy access to the stones, paved parking and is right on B 82. Well worth the stop. Scattered throughout the graveyard are many stones with no marking. It is almost impossible to say whether these are ancient or relatively recent markers.

  © 2005-06 F.J. & K.D. Schorr - All rights reserved.