Four Masters

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following the Flight of the Earls at the beginning of the seventeenth century, a group of monks in Donegal grew increasingly worried about the preservation of Irish heritage, language, and history. the lead author of the compilation was Mícheál Ó Cléirigh and was assisted by three other men. the group is now often referred to as the Four Masters, an Anglicanization of the original Four Friars used to refer to the men, although only O Cleirigh was a Franciscan. they started the work at the abbey in Donegal town seen here. there are several manuscript copies of the complete annals in existance, held by Trinity College, the Royal Irish Academy and University College Dublin. the ruins of the abbey sit on the bay, a short way down the river from the Castle. because of its proximity to the stronghold of the O’Connell clan, located so far from English power in Ireland in the still remote land region of Donegal, the abbey suffered from the seiges and mortar attacks visited upon the clan. the monestary was abandoned not long after the Flight of the Earls and left to ruin. the graveyard is packed, indicating that the site was used as a burial ground even after the monastery was abandoned. you can still distinguish the cloisters and transept in the ruins, and, in many respects, it resembles all the other ruined monastic sites I visited in my travels. the one thing I found most intriguing about this location (which I didn’t think to take a photo of), was a set of stairs leading up from the hole in the wall next to the arch in the photo. narrow, and headed to who knows where, tucked into the wall as one heads out from the cloister walk.

Author: Erica

born in the midwest with wandering feet.