Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Bonamargy Friary

 

This evening, I am posting information on Bonamargy Friary, near Ballycastle in Northern Ireland.

The site now comprises ruins with an associated burial ground in State care. The cloister, gatehouse, altar and church are well-preserved. History of the site stretches back 500 years, viz:

  • Founded for the Third Order of Franciscans circa 1485 by Rory MacQuillan.
  • Subsequently taken over by the MacDonnells. Chieftain, Sorley Boy MacDonnell is buried in a locked vault under the chapel.
  • Disruption caused when roof of church was burned in course of a battle between English troops and MacDonnells in 1584.
  • Restored early 17th century by Randal MacDonnell who built a chapel adjoining the south wall of the church.
  • Home to 17th century prophet and recluse, Julie MacQuillan whose burial is marked with a worn celtic cross as shown in image no 2 below.
  • Continued as a place of Roman Catholic worship until 18th century after which was used for burials.

Located on the edge of Ballycastle Golf Course on the east A2 coast road. Free access.

John McNaghten Burial, 1630. He was an official of the Earl of Antrim.

Bonamargy Friary

West End of main church with worn celtic cross showing burial site of burial 17th century prophet, Julie MacQuillen

Bonamargy Friary

 

Bonamargy Friary

 

 

 

Bonamargy Friary

Royal Mile, Edinburgh

This evening, I am posting a selection of images taken on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile (Scotland) during the Festival.

The Edinburgh International Festival took place this year between August 1st and 25th 2014. This event:

  • Ranks as one of the world’s largest arts festivals.
  • Achieved record sales. exceeding GBP3.0m for the first time.
  • Attracted audiences of 415,000.
  • Entailed 50,000 performances of 3193 shows using services of 2400 artists from 43 nations.
  • Was spread across 299 venues.

During the period of the Festival Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile is partly taken over by performers advertising their respective shows.These represent a , a diverse range of talent including mime, marching bands, song and dance and acrobats.

This event adds colour, vibrancy and atmosphere to the Edinburgh scene during the peak tourist season.

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

 

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

 

Edinburgh Fringe
Edinburgh Fringe

 

Edinburgh Fringe

 

Edinburgh Fringe

 

Edinburgh Fringe

 

Edinburgh Fringe

 

Edinburgh Fringe

 

Royal Mile, Edinburgh

 

Royal Mile

 

Royal Mile

Crosses

Tonight, I am focusing on the ancient Christian crosses on the island of Iona which lies off Scotland’s West Coast.

Iona is famous for the connection with St. Columba who arrived on the island in AD 563 and proceeded to build a monastery. Over the succeeding centuries these early foundations proved secure as the ecclesiastical community has survived savage Viking raids and the Reformation. Today, the Abbey is a world-renowned ecumenical centre.

There were probably a much larger number of crosses prior to the Reformation. Those which survive afford an insight in to the art, culture and propaganda of the period between AD 800- AD 1500. Note in particular, the 8th century, St. Oran’s Cross which was ground-breaking and probably very expensive to produce.

 

MacLean’s Cross

This dates from the 15th century and displays rich, interleaved patterns. A fine example of the Iona carving school of the period. In medieval times the cross was located at a junction comprising the confluence of three roads.

 

MacLean's Cross

 

St. Martin’s Cross

This cross still stands in the position where is was originally erected over 1000 years ago. It was crafted from a single block of epidiorite. The east face (shown in image) comprises patterns of round bosses encircled by serpents with creatures resembling lions at the top.

 

St. Martin's Cross

 

St. John’s Cross

Now located in the Abbey museum. It has been carefully reconstructed to original height of 5.3 metres (17 feet.). An exact concrete replica can viewed outside St. Columba’s Shrine. Much of the stone was imported from nearby Argyll and the skilled craftsmen may have been Irish or Pictish.

St. John's Cross

 

St. Oran’s Cross

This represents one of the oldest surviving Scottish cultural artifacts. The Cross dates from the 8th century and is carved with Celtic and biblical images. Now located in the Abbey Museum following extensive restoration. More information:

• Stands at 4.4m (14.5 feet) in height.

• Originally weighed around a tonne, but this has increased recently due to addition of steel supports.

• Features exuberant Celtic spiral ornamentation, closely matching that on the Book of Kells manuscript which was produced at Iona

St. Oran's Cross

 

Mackinnon’s Cross
Only the richly decorated shaft of this 15th century cross remains. Information and features:

The upper section of the front is covered in intertwined foliage. An inscription states that the cross was carved in 1489 and dedicated to Lachlan MacKinnon and his son John, Abbot of Iona. An effigy of the latter can be seen in the choir of the Abbey church.

The lower section of the front has a fine depiction of a West Highland galley or birlinn with a banner flying at the prow and a well-defined rudder at the stern. This provides an insight into evolving ship technology as stern rudders were a key technological development from the earlier Norse longships from which birlinns evolved.

Mackinnon's Cross