THE RATHDOWN SLABS

The Rathdown slabs - unique Scandinavian carving style.
Image by J. Harrington

The large decorated stones, known as the Rathdown slabs, show a unique type of carving found only in the Rathdown area. The Scandinavian settlers who lived in the region, from the 9th to the12th century, are credited with the work. The Rathdown slabs were possibly used as gravestones. Some were later built in to the wall of St.Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin,  and the entrance to St. Audeon’s church. Some of the remaining slabs can currently be seen at old Rathmichael church, and are used as the logo of the Rathmichael Historical Society.

A 10th century Anglo-Saxon coin, found at Rathdown, suggests either a Norse settlement at Rathdown, or contact between the Gaelic inhabitants of Rathdown and Norse inhabitants in the area. Norse settlers in Ireland used only imported coins, mainly Anglo-Saxon, up to 997AD, when they opened their own mint in Dublin.

Smal, Chris (1993), Ancient Rathdown and St. Crispin’s Cell, A uniquely historic landscape, Friends of Historic Rathdown, Greystones.

 

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