Sundials in Ireland - Ancient Monastic Dials

Monasterboice Co.Louth

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Monasterboice is one of Ireland's best-known early religious sites. It has the remains of two churches, a Round Tower, three High Crosses and a sundial. Founded in the 6th century by St. Buite, the monastery became a renowned seat of learning and art. The 95ft Round Tower dates from the 10th century and was used by monks for refuge from the marauding Vikings who ransacked many of the wealthy Irish monasteries during the 10th and 11th centuries. Amongst the finest remains on the site are the awe inspiring High Crosses, the most impressive of which is The Cross of Muiredach. It is 17ft 8in high and was carved with scenes from the Bible over one thousand years ago.

Monasterboice Dial

Line Drawing of the Dial
    Special thanks to Simon Francis for this drawing

In the cemetery, is an ancient vertical stone dial circa 1000 A.D. 6ft high by 15ins. wide by 9ins. thick.
The semicircular sundial face has a horizontal diameter line across the top of the slab; a hole for the gnomon at the centre of the circle, and three radii, one vertical, the other two flanking it and sloped at about 45 degrees. The times shown by these lines are those for the canonical prayer hours of; Prime (6a.m.), Terce (9a.m.), Sext (12 noon), None (3 p.m.) and Vespers (6p.m.). Underneath the dial there is a circle containing a cross, and underneath that, another circle containing a cross in relief. The cup shaped hollow further down the stem is thought to be a natural fault in the stone.

Monasterboice Monastery is located 8km north of Drogheda off the N1

National Monument No 94.

British Sundial Society SR No 3932

Lat 53° 47' North   Long 6° 25' West

IRISH GRID     O  3 04311   282074

If you know the location of a sundial in Ireland (NOT a mass produced DIY Store garden ornament) please email it to me (Click here to email M.J.Harley) - a member of British Sundial Society
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