Kilnasaggart Pillar Stone

A tall granite pillar marks the site of an early cemetery on one of Early Christian Ireland’s great ‘main roads’, the Slige Midlúachra, running from Drogheda north through the Moyry Pass to Dunseverick in north Antrim.

The long Irish inscription on the pillar’s south-east face records the dedication of the place by Ternohc son of Ceran Bic under the patronage of Peter the Apostle. Ternohc’s death is recorded in the annals at 714 or 716 and the pillar can be dated to about 700. There are also three crosses on the south-east face and 10 on the north-west.

Excavation in 1966 and 1968 uncovered an Early Christian cemetery with both stone-built and dug graves near the pillar, orientated east-west (not radially, as earlier claimed). Several small cross-carved slabs around the pillar may have served as grave-markers. The site was unenclosed in the mid 19th century; the present enclosure dates from early in the 20th century. A fine bullaun stone can be seen in the field to the west.

Source credit: Communities NI

Images: various