Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Christian Pilgrimage Station Found in Ireland

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

COUNTY MAYO, IRELAND—A survey of the rocky island of Caher has identified an outer arc of altars or “leachts” that marked a station on a medieval maritime pilgrimage circuit. According to archaeologist Michael Gibbons, the circuit “represents a now rare example of a form of religious devotion stretching back at least a millennium on Ireland’s Atlantic coast.” The island is home to a monastery with a late medieval chapel; a series of stone crosses and small stone altars; a holy well; and a wall chamber where pilgrims or monks confined themselves in solitude.  The island was abandoned in the early nineteenth century.