27 Oct 2013

Magical Places: The Abbey of the Four Masters, Co. Donegal

The Franciscan Friary overlooking scenic Donegal Bay is best known for "The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland" or the "Annals of the Four Masters" - one of the most important records of the history and mythology of Ireland that was compiled and written down here. 

 



 (runterscrollen für die deutsche Version!)

Sitting on the outskirts of Donegal Town where the River Eske flows into Donegal Bay, the monastery was founded for the Franciscan friars in 1474 by the first Red Hugh O'Donnell and his wife Lady Nuala. The O'Donnell Clan very generously endowed the friary and it flourished into a vibrant monastic community. For the next 130 years it became one of the most important centres for religion and learning in all of Ireland.





The friary survived attacks, burning and ransacking, but by the beginning of the 17th century when English forces moved in again, the monastery was abandoned. After the Flight of the Gaelic Earls and the subsequent Plantation of Ulster by english and scottish Protestants, the Friary and Donegal Castle were granted to Sir Basil Brooke. The ousted Donegal Franciscan Friars wandered from place to place, but remained secretly active.

The remains of the Franciscan Friary

The cloister
In 1632 the Irish historian and lay brother of the Order, Brother Mícheál Ó Cléirigh (Michael O'Cleary), had the idea to compile and document a history of Ireland. He was worried the Celtic culture was about to disappear with the English having conquered and taken over the country.  He began the task of salvaging and compiling old manuscripts and writing down a chronology of the History and Mythology of Ireland. He was assisted by other scribes and scholars, most notably Cú Choigcriche Ó Cléirigh, Peregrinus Ó Duibhgeannainn and Fearfeasa Ó Maol Chonaire - together they came to be known as "The Four Masters". The project was financed by Fearghal O'Gadhra, an Irish Lord from County Sligo. 

The ruins of the friary overlooking Donegal Bay

Red Hugh O'Donnell
It took the four scribes four years to finish this enormous task - the Irish Annals covered a period of 4,500 years - from the first mythological accounts through medieval times all the way to the year 1616. The chronicles consist of earlier Irish manuscripts, but also original work - stories of Irish nobility, accounts of the births and deaths of chieftains, kings and abbots, their lives and battles, the foundations and destruction of churches and abbeys.
The chronicles were first titled "Annála Ríoghachta Éireann" - "The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland" - and later became known as the "Annála na gCeithre Máistrí", which literally means "The Annals of the Four Friars" (even though only one of the authors, Brother Mícheál Ó Cléirigh was a friar). In the anglicised version this turned into "The Annals of the Four Masters". 





When the manuscript was finally ready to be published, a dispute with the historian Tuileagna Ó Maol Chonaire over some details delayed the publication of the Annals. In a cruel twist of fate none of the authors ever saw their work published during their lifetime. 
Today, copies of the text are on display at the National Library in Dublin, while the original manuscript is kept in Switzerland, locked away in a Franciscan Friary.



Sunset over Donegal Bay

Four meek men around the cresset,
With the scrolls of other days;
Four unwearied scribes who treasure
Every word and every line.
Not for fame or not for fortune,
Do these eager penmen dream.
Oh ! that we who now inherit
All their trust, with half their toil,
Were but fit to trace their footsteps
Through the Annals of the Isle;
Oh ! that the bright Angel, Duty,
Guardian of our task might be,
Teach us as she taught our Masters,
In that Abbey by the sea,
Faithful, grateful, just to be!


T.D. McGee




deutsche Version:

Das Franziskanerkloster mit Blick über die malerische Donegal Bucht ist für die "Annalen des Königreichs von Irland" oder die "Annalen der vier Meister" bekannt - eine der wichtigsten Aufzeichnungen der Geschichte und Mythologie Irlands, die hier gesammelt und niedergeschrieben wurden.



Das Kloster liegt ein Stück außerhalb der Stadt Donegal, wo der Fluß Eske in die Donegal Bucht mündet. Es wurde im Jahre 1474 vom ersten Red Hugh O'Donnell und seiner Frau Lady Nuala  für die Franziskanermönche gegründet. Der O'Donnell Clan stattete das Kloster großzügig aus und es erblühte zu einer lebhaften Klostergemeinschaft. Für die nächsten 130 Jahre war es eines der wichtigsten Zentren für Religion und Bildung in ganz Irland.
Das Kloster überstand Überfälle, Plünderungen und Brände, zu Beginn des 17. Jhdts. allerdings, als die Englische Armee erneut einfiel, wurde das Kloster aufgegeben. Nach der Flucht der Gälischen Earls und im Zuge der Neu-Besiedelung Ulsters durch englische und schottische Protestanten, wurde die Burg und das Kloster in Donegal Sir Basil Brooke zuerkannt. Die enteigneten Franziskanermönche wanderten ziellos umher, blieben aber weiterhin im Geheimen aktiv. 




Im Jahre 1632 hatte der irische Historiker und Laienbruder des Ordens, Bruder Mícheál Ó Cléirigh (Michael O'Cleary) die Idee die Geschichte Irlands zu dokumentieren. Er war besorgt die keltische Kultur würde langsam verschwinden, nachdem die Engländer das Land erobert und übernommen hatten. Er begann mit der Aufgabe alte Manuskripte ausfindig zu machen, zu sammeln und eine Chronologie der Geschichte und Mythologie Irlands niederzuschreiben. Er wurde von anderen Schreibern unterstützt, vor allem Cú Choigcriche Ó Cléirigh, Peregrinus Ó Duibhgeannainn und Fearfeasa Ó Maol Chonaire - zusammen wurden sie als "Die vier Meister" bekannt. Das Projekt wurde von Fearghal O'Gadhra, einem irischen Lord aus der Grafschaft Sligo finanziert.  


Die vier Schreiber brauchten vier Jahre um diese enorme Aufgabe fertig zu stellen - die Irischen Annalen umfassen eine Zeitspanne von 4,500 Jahren - von den ersten mythologischen Erzählungen über die Periode des Mittelalters, bis ins Jahr 1616. Die Chronik besteht aus frühen Irischen Manuskripten und eigenen Aufzeichnungen - Erzählungen über die Irische Aristokratie, Aufzeichnungen über Geburt und Ableben von Stammesführern, Königen und Äbten, ihr Leben und ihre Kriege, die Gründung und Zerstörung von Kirchen und Klöstern. Die Chronik wurde zuerst ""Annála Ríoghachta Éireann" - die "Annalen des Königreichs von Irland" genannt - und wurden erst später unter dem Titel "Annála na gCeithre Máistrí" bekannt, was übersetzt "Die Annalen der vier Mönche" bedeutet (obwohl nur Bruder Mícheál Ó Cléirigh tatsächlich ein Mönch war). In der anglisierten Version wurden daraus schließlich "Die Annalen der vier Meister".


Als das Manuskript endlich für die Veröffentlichung bereit war, verzögerte eine Debatte über einige Details mit dem Historiker Tuileagna Ó Maol Chonaire die Publikation der Annalen. In einer grausamen Laune des Schicksals erlebte keiner der vier Autoren die Veröffentlichung ihrer Arbeit. 
Heute sind Abschriften des Textes in der National Library in Dublin zu sehen, das Original Manuskript wird in einem Franziskanerkloster in der Schweiz aufbewahrt.

The ruins of this once stately complex can be found on a scenic parcel of land located at the mouth of the Eske River, where it pours into Donegal Bay. Built in 1474 by Hugh O’Donnell, the abbey withstood ransacking, burning and ravaging before it was finally abandoned in the early part of the 17th century. The only recognizable parts of the ruins today are the south transept, choir, and parts of the cloisters. The adjoining graveyard is filled, providing evidence that people were buried here well into the 18th century. This abbey near Donegal town is perhaps most well known as the place where the Four Masters gathered to plan and write the Irish Annals. Fearful of the demise of the Celtic culture in Ireland at the hands of the English, these four monks wrote to preserve the history and traditional mythology of Ireland, from its very beginnings up until 1618. They worked on this project here from 1632 to 1636. Although the original works of the monks are kept locked away safely, people can examine the copies on display at the National Library in Dublin.

Read more at: http://chooseireland.com/donegal/franciscan-abbey-donegal-town/
The ruins of this once stately complex can be found on a scenic parcel of land located at the mouth of the Eske River, where it pours into Donegal Bay. Built in 1474 by Hugh O’Donnell, the abbey withstood ransacking, burning and ravaging before it was finally abandoned in the early part of the 17th century. The only recognizable parts of the ruins today are the south transept, choir, and parts of the cloisters. The adjoining graveyard is filled, providing evidence that people were buried here well into the 18th century. This abbey near Donegal town is perhaps most well known as the place where the Four Masters gathered to plan and write the Irish Annals. Fearful of the demise of the Celtic culture in Ireland at the hands of the English, these four monks wrote to preserve the history and traditional mythology of Ireland, from its very beginnings up until 1618. They worked on this project here from 1632 to 1636. Although the original works of the monks are kept locked away safely, people can examine the copies on display at the National Library in Dublin.

Read more at: http://chooseireland.com/donegal/franciscan-abbey-donegal-town/visit the "Old Graveyard" which is housed in the ruins of "The Old Abbey" which was a Francisian Friary where the medieval beautifully decorated bible "The Annuals of the Four Masters" was crafted. Donegal Abbey was built in 1474 in this beautiful location at the waters edge of Donegal harbour. The ruins that have survived the centuries are a popular tourist attraction and provide a Gothic backdrop to many a visitor's photographs.
The ruins of this once stately complex can be found on a scenic parcel of land located at the mouth of the Eske River, where it pours into Donegal Bay. Built in 1474 by Hugh O’Donnell, the abbey withstood ransacking, burning and ravaging before it was finally abandoned in the early part of the 17th century. The only recognizable parts of the ruins today are the south transept, choir, and parts of the cloisters. The adjoining graveyard is filled, providing evidence that people were buried here well into the 18th century. This abbey near Donegal town is perhaps most well known as the place where the Four Masters gathered to plan and write the Irish Annals. Fearful of the demise of the Celtic culture in Ireland at the hands of the English, these four monks wrote to preserve the history and traditional mythology of Ireland, from its very beginnings up until 1618. They worked on this project here from 1632 to 1636. Although the original works of the monks are kept locked away safely, people can examine the copies on display at the National Library in Dublin.

Read more at: http://chooseireland.com/donegal/franciscan-abbey-donegal-town/
The ruins of this once stately complex can be found on a scenic parcel of land located at the mouth of the Eske River, where it pours into Donegal Bay. Built in 1474 by Hugh O’Donnell, the abbey withstood ransacking, burning and ravaging before it was finally abandoned in the early part of the 17th century. The only recognizable parts of the ruins today are the south transept, choir, and parts of the cloisters. The adjoining graveyard is filled, providing evidence that people were buried here well into the 18th century. This abbey near Donegal town is perhaps most well known as the place where the Four Masters gathered to plan and write the Irish Annals. Fearful of the demise of the Celtic culture in Ireland at the hands of the English, these four monks wrote to preserve the history and traditional mythology of Ireland, from its very beginnings up until 1618. They worked on this project here from 1632 to 1636. Although the original works of the monks are kept locked away safely, people can examine the copies on display at the National Library in Dublin.

Read more at: http://chooseireland.com/donegal/franciscan-abbey-donegal-town/
The ruins of this once stately complex can be found on a scenic parcel of land located at the mouth of the Eske River, where it pours into Donegal Bay. Built in 1474 by Hugh O’Donnell, the abbey withstood ransacking, burning and ravaging before it was finally abandoned in the early part of the 17th century. The only recognizable parts of the ruins today are the south transept, choir, and parts of the cloisters. The adjoining graveyard is filled, providing evidence that people were buried here well into the 18th century. This abbey near Donegal town is perhaps most well known as the place where the Four Masters gathered to plan and write the Irish Annals. Fearful of the demise of the Celtic culture in Ireland at the hands of the English, these four monks wrote to preserve the history and traditional mythology of Ireland, from its very beginnings up until 1618. They worked on this project here from 1632 to 1636. Although the original works of the monks are kept locked away safely, people can examine the copies on display at the National Library in Dublin.

Read more at: http://chooseireland.com/donegal/franciscan-abbey-donegal-town/

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