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C. A. Ralegh Radford
Ulster Journal of Archaeology
Third Series, Vol. 33 (1970), pp. 55-62
Published by: Ulster Archaeological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20567667
Page Count: 9
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Devenish, an island in Lough Erne, Co. Fermanagh, is one of the greater Irish ecclesiastical sites. It is distinguished both for a long and interesting historical development and for the variety of its archaeological remains (PLATE V), which illustrate more than one phase of the institutional evolution of the Church in medieval Ireland. In particular, the survival on the island, down to the Reformation, of two religious houses (pp. 59-60) -- 'Culdee' and Augustinian -- is an anomaly which has received little attention. It is not my intention, in this short tribute to Dr Oliver Davies and Professor Estyn Evans, to present a detailed history of the monastery and priory or to attempt a comprehensive survey of the remains. I intend rather to place the various structures and objects, both architectural and archaeological, in their historical and institutional context. For this purpose a summary description and analysis will be sufficient to establish the date and function of the several elements that constitute the complex of Devenish. It is my hope that the result may lead to a fuller appreciation of this important site and so serve as fitting tribute to two scholars, who have done so much for the study and preservation of the antiquities of Ulster. It is now some forty years since I first visited the province and was privileged to see their excavations at Ballyalton, near Ardglass, Co. Down. Since that date I have followed their researches with increasing interest, not lessened by the fact that they have handed on the torch to so many students and to so flourishing a Department of Archaeology in the Queen's University of Belfast.
Ulster Journal of Archaeology © 1970 Ulster Archaeological Society