The Cooley Cross, Moville. County Donegal        c. 8th or 9th century a. d.

The Cooley Cross is located just outside the perimeter walls of a beautiful old graveyard that overlooks Lough Foyle. This is an interesting early ecclesiastical site that was possibly established by St Patrick in the 6th century. The cross dates back to the 8th or 9th century a. d. and stands about 10 feet high. It is plain in appearance but has an odd looking hole on its top. This hole is thought to have contained a peg serving as a ‘gnomon’ for a rudimentary sundial and so the vertical shadow indicated the hour of noon. There is a cross with a similar hole on the greater Aran Island where the vertical shadow line is marked. The base of Cooley cross is also peculiar as it is a large flat stone containing a crude representation of a human foot, traditionally ascribed to St. Patrick. Hole-stones date back to pagan times and are thought to be used when couples joined their hands through them when making vows. In the graveyard is a small stone structure which is known locally as the ‘Skull House’. This is believed to be the resting place of Moville’s local Saint Finian. There are lots of interesting artifacts lying among the graves including headstones dating back 300 years, broken pieces of early wheeled crosses and grinding stones.