Carndonagh, the hub of Inishowen, is a compact thriving town 2 miles from the head of Trawbreaga Bay. It has always been an important ecclesiastical site; its importance dates from Patrician times (5th century) and it has probably a bishopric. The town is dominated by the Church of the Sacred Heart, built in 1945 with some fine statuary by Albert power, RHA, the famous sculptor.
The Church of Ireland church stands a short distance away on the site of the church founded by St Patrick. The west entrance of this is a re-used 15th century door. Against the church wall may be seen a well carved lintel stone. In the churchyard there is also a cross-pillar known as the Marigold Stone because on the west side there is a seven rayed star inside a circle which has been regarded as a marigold. The church bell is believed to have come off the 'Trinidad Valencera', the Spanish armada ship wrecked in Kinagoe Bay in 1588.
The chief glory of the town is the famous Donagh or St Patrick's Cross. It has been dated to the 7th century which would make it one of the very early Christian crosses outside mainland Europe. The cross is 11 ft. 6 inches in height and is regarded as one of the finest examples in Ireland of low relief carving reianing from ancient times. A few feet from the cross are two pillar stones each carved on all sides.
Just outside the town on the Ballyliffin road you may enjoy a forest walk and picnic in one of Ireland's few remaining natural woods, with its oakwood, birch, rowan, hazel, willow and holly. This fine stand of old oakwood is classified as an area of regional importance.
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