White island , Co. Fermanagh

White Island is in County Fermanagh if you are passing through on any tours of Ireland.

Mounted on the wall of a ruined abbey, the seven early Christian carvings of White Island look eerily pagan.

Found early last century they are thought to be caryatds – columnsin human form – from a monastic church of the 9th to 11th centuries.

A seated Christ figure holding the Gospels on his knees; a hooded figure with bell and crozier, possibly St Anthony; David carrying a shepherd’s staff, his hand towards his mouth showing his role as author and singer; Christ the Warrior holding two griffins by the scruff of their necks; and another Christ figure with a fringe of curly hair wearing a brooch on his left shoulder and carrying a sword and shield – here he is the King of Glory at his Second Coming. There is an unfinished 7th stone and, on the far right, a carved head with a down-turned mouth, which is probably later than the other statues.

The Church of White Island also contains 11th century gravestones; the largest earthworks round the outside date from an earlier monastery.

It is well worth seeing on any Ireland tours or one of our extended Belfast tours….it is a real hidden gem !