Posts Tagged ‘duignan’
Boyle Abbey is a sacred place of worship that was gifted to the Cistercians. This order of monks built their abbey over the top of an existing pagan site (if I remember the guide’s introduction properly), and I would suspect that this was actually a druidic college that they built over. For me the abbey was an attraction because it was supposedly the resting ground of many of my forebears who had been buried in the abbey’s grounds. The list records burials from the 12th Century onwards, but suggests that there may have been many more before that which were not recorded for posterity. Having just finished one adventure at Lough Key I was in the mood for more. Where better, I felt, to go in search of the ‘wandering’ spirit of Saint Duignan than here?
With the mundane aspect of ancestor-spotting out of the way I was free to concentrate on finding and communing with the spirit that I believe might be present at this place, having been led here from that other Cistercian abbey Vale Crucis in Llangollen (see this post for that tale). In that story I had spoken to a spirit who identified himself as St.Duignan and then had indicated that he had moved to a corresponding abbey in my homeland in Ireland. From my research Boyle Abbey was the prime candidate. Seeing the list of my ancestor’s burials in the abbey’s gatehouse was a strong indicator that I was on the right track.
The Sun Wheel
One of the interesting aspects of the abbey was its age. The current abbey layout was built upon the foundations of an earlier abbey that was a pagan construction, although identifying exactly what this was is diffucult. Some archaeology has been done to identify the original design and there is a plan view on display in the upstairs ‘museum’. In the architecture of the abbey are several examples of pagan stonework, such as a Sheela-Na-Gig and some rather raucous carvings of totemic astrological or heraldic birds and aminals atop the colunnades. Occasional reminders of this past lurk round many corners of the site, such as this sun wheel motif carved in stone:
Enough of the tourist stuff! We had the place almost to ourselves so I hid the dowsing rods away in a corner and set about ‘feeling’ for the presence of Duignan. Was he here? Was he contactable? Was I in the right place? Time to find out!