ME02149 - DUNSHAUGHLIN - Stone sculpture

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An orans stone (H 0.57m; Wth 0.25m; T 7cm) was found in the graveyard of St Seachnall's church (ME044-033002-) in 1969, and it is now in the present church. This depicts a figure praying with raised arms, which Roe (1970, 212, 220) would date to the 6th to the 8th centuries. It is described by Roe (1970, 212-3) as follows: ‘In the spring of 1969 when mowing grass in the churchyard of St. Seachnaill's Church (C. of I.) a small piece of carved stone was observed protruding above the sod. When dug out this proved to be an oblong slab, neatly shaped and dressed which measured some 59 cm. high by about 26 cm. wide and 7 cm. thick. One face of the stone is carved in relief with the figure of a man standing frontally, his legs close together with feet heel to heel in profile. His arms are flexed at the elbows so that his hands- now very indistinct—are upheld at about shoulder-level. He is distinctively clad in a high-waisted, knee-length garment, rather like an apron, but whether the upper part of his body was originally shown covered or naked cannot now be said. The upper part of the stone having been above ground probably accounts for the weathering of this area with the resultant loss of detail of the hands and the reduction of the features of the face to their original components — large eyes below marked orbital ridges; a long nose, flattened and broadening toward the tip; the mouth no more than a lipless slit. A short chin beard may have been indicated by incised lines but this is no longer certain. Thick short hair covers the head and it is interesting to note that the crown of the head rises above the top of the slab in a way reminiscent of the head of Christ in the Crucifixion on the east side of the pillar stone at Carndonagh, Co. Donegal. The lower part of the carving is so chipped and abraded that it is not possible to determine if the feet were supported on a suppedaneum or other form of foot-rest.’ There is a plaster copy located at the site of the Parish Church of St. Sechnaill, Dunshaughlin (ME044-03302-). Compiled by: Paul Walsh Date of amended upload: 30 April 2015

Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage

Monument Details

53.5142, -6.5393

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