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Cooley Cross and Skull House

Cooley Cross and Skull House

Northwest Ireland | County Donegal

Cooley Cross and Skull House are located just 1,5 km from Town of Moville towards Cooley Village (west of Moville), on Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal. It was important site for pagan worship in pre-Christian times, and then transformed into an early Christian settlement (there is no exact datas, who and when founded the monastery, but it's believed, that it might be even St. Patrick himself). In the initial period of Christianization of Ireland it was a common practice among the first monks, to not destroy pre-existing pagan shrines and traditions, but rather transfer it to new religion. The Cooley Cross it's fine example of this practice. Is believed that, this cross with characteristic hole, was carved out from ''holed stone", already located in this place. In pre-Christian times, this kind of stones were used at conclusion of important agreements and vows (for example marriage). Both concerned parties shook their hands through a hole carved out in the stone. At the old cemetery, beside which the cross is located, there is small, old, dry-stone building (similar to early Christian "beehive hut") known as the Skull House or Mortuary. Probably it was initially an oratory, and then tomb for monks, which is presumed resting place of St. Finian. Until 2010, the cemetery in Cooley was completely abandoned and not accessible, but thanks to the initiative of local people the place has been cleaned. The main initiator of the idea was Mr. Martin Hopkins. He gathered a group of volunteers, managed the necessary permits and funding.

    • Freely accessible
  • CAR PARK :
    • Roadside

Photos from Cooley Cross and Skull House