Posted in Posts and podcasts

Clog na neal – 1918

Photo: Jessie Eastland
Photo: Jessie Eastland

An ancient relic is being offered for sale in London. This is the famous “Clog an air” (sic. – bell of gold) a renowned relic which for centuries has been venerated by the people of the West of Ireland. From time immemorial the bell has been in the possession of a County Clare family, the O’Cahanos (sic.).
According to tradition, it descended from heaven, ringing loudly to St. Senan, the patron of the Seven Churches of Scattery, a holy island near the mouth of the river Shannon, opposite Kilrush, in the earliest years of Christianity in Ireland. Hence it was originally known as “Clog na neal,” or bell of the clouds. But the antiquaries are agreed that it is the work of human hands, not angelic, and from its decorations, they date it from the 11th century.
The bell is known to have been used for a period of time in the religious services at Scattery (now a place of ecclesiastical remains of great antiquity) before it was given into the care of the O’Cahanes, the ancient protectors of the island. It attained to an extraordinary degree of fame and sanctity throughout Clare and Galway. No oath was held to be so sacred as one sworn on the Golden Bell. It was believed that anyone who told a lie, after being sworn on the bell, would have his mouth twisted on one side; and down to about the middle of the 19th century it was used successfully for the discovery of information when all other means failed. The relic is in the form of a shrine which probably once contained a bell and clapper. It is made of bronze and silver, and is decorated with the figures of two-winged dragons and quaint serpent interlacings.



B.A., M.A.(Archaeology); Regional Tour Guide; Dip. Radio Media Tech; H.Dip. Computer Science.

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