Clonca Church

Clonca Church

 

Clonca Church and site of one of the most important foundations in the development of Christianity in Inishowen. The 17th century planter’s church ruin at Cloncha is believed to have been built on the foundation of an earlier church associated with a monastic site founded by St Morialagh in the 6th Century.

Clonca is approximately 3 km from the village of Culdaff, off the Culdaff-Moville Road. Approximately 1.5 km along this road, on the left. There is easy access to Cloncha and it is well signposted.

Clonca Church
Clonca Church

Taken from A Journey through its Past – Neil McGrory

Situated just below the Hill of Deen, Clonca is the site of one of the most important foundations in the development of Christianity in Inishowen. It was a significant centre from the sixth century onwards, favoured by bishops as a final resting place.

The glory of Clonca is surely the striking high crosses, in the field just beside the church. Only one cross now stands upright, St Boden’s Cross, another lies only partially complete, but fallen, in the same field. Carved in the distinctive manner of hybrid art produced by the Christian Celt the carvings are both beautiful and intriguing.

Inside the church (the older church was replaced by the planter’s church in the 17th century) are some beautiful carved stones. One a gravestone from a later date displays a great deal of artistry in the carving on a local limestone.

Clonca was the center for conversion of a large part of Inishowen. The original monastery was much larger (some stones and crosses must have been destroyed, other are now held in the National Museum). It’s influence was great and the fact that Carrowmore and another foundation at Culdaff were so near, would have made this area a great seat of skill and learning.