A 7thc. foundation, although much of the remaining fabric of the church dates to the 15thc. A number of Romanesque fragments are kept in a stone store at the site. Two further carved stones are now held in the Fermanagh County Museum. These are a rectangular limestone block carved with a ecclesiastical figure, and a corbel/section of cornice carved with an exhibitionist figure. In 1894 the stone carved with the ecclesiastical figure was recorded as standing in the graveyard 'about ten yards to the north east of one of the walls of St Ronan's church' (Dagg 1894, 265). The carving of the exhibitionist figure was discovered built into the core of the S wall of the Church (Hickey 1976, 66).
In 2003 two carved stones forming a Crucifixion panel were rediscovered during building work to the gateway to Aghalurcher graveyard. (Stalley 2009)
The monastic site was founded in the 7thc. by St Ronan. No records of the site during the 11th–12thc. survive. The Annals of Ulster record for 1447 states that: 'This year a ribbed vault was put by Thomas Mag Uidhir junior, namely, king of Fir-Manach, on the church of Achadh-urchaire in honour of God and SS Tighernach and Ronan. And it was he that built the eastern gable of the church for the good of his own soul, and so on.' (Annals of Ulster, 159).
The face is damaged, but has the remains of two and a half lozenges formed by single rolls, flanked by beading and with a raised flat moulding along the outer edge. The soffit is also damaged but the carving is more clear. This comprises one and a half lozenges, the lozenges formed by single rolls, flanked by beading. To the left of the carving is a rough tooled area (width 0.07 m). There is a half roll (diameter 0.045 m) on the arris.
As (1) but more weathered. Rough tooled area on soffit (0.12 m).
A very damaged piece of stone with the remains of a three-strand interlace in the form of two interlocking figures-of-eight carved in one corner. To one side of this is a smooth dressed rebate (depth 0.02 m). There is some rough tooling on the underside. All other faces are damaged.
Two carved stones found during the process of carrying out repairs to the graveyard entrance gate.
The block now forming the W jamb of the graveyard entrance is carved with a figure of the crucified Christ, set against a solid ringed cross. Christ’s face is badly damaged, but enough remains to show that he was wearing a crown. The triangular arrangement of the loincloth, thinly incised in the stone, can just be discerned.
The second block, forming the E jamb of the entrance, has two superimposed figures, the upper one taller and more elongated. The lower figure appears to be holding a sceptre.
Both sculptures are outlined by a curved groove, giving the impression that the carving is set back in a recess. The width between the grooves is 20cm, an arrangement repeated on both blocks, demonstrating that they originally fitted together.
As the blocks were evidently intended to be placed one on top of the other, the total height must have been about 2.45m, with the Crucifixion at the top and the two single figures below.
G. Dagg, 'The Bishop's Stone in the Churchyard of Aghalurcher', Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 24 (1894), 264–70.
O. Davies, 'Aghalurcher church, being a correction to "A Preliminary survey of the Monuments of Northern Ireland"', Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 4, Series 3 (1941), 144.
A. Gwynn and R. N. Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses: Ireland, London, 1970, 372.
W. M. Hennessy and B. Mac Carthy ed., The Annals of Ulster, 3, Dublin, 1895.
H. Hickey, Images in Stone: Figure Sculpture in the Lough Erne Basin, Belfast, 1976, 66.
S. McNab, Irish Figure Sculpture in the Twelfth Century, PhD. thesis, Trinity College Dublin, 1987, 2, 252–8.
A. Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster. 1979, 361.
R. Stalley, 'In search of medieval sculpture: rockeries, walls and gateposts' in Lost and Found, ed. J. Fenwick, 179–187, Dublin, Wordwell, 2009.