The oldest antiquity in Delgany is believed to the granite cross shaft which stands in the old graveyard and is
known locally as “the King’s stone”. The shaft is from a high cross, the head of which is missing, and it is attributed
to the seventh century. It bears an inscription which is now partly indecipherable. Luckily, a rubbing made in 1871
recorded the inscription, which is a prayer in old Irish: Ordo Dicu Ocus Maelo Dran Sair (“Pray for Dicu and
Maelodran the wright”). The archaeologist Christian Corlett postulates that these individuals
may have commissioned and undertaken the erection of the cross or the building of a church at this site. It is
situated to the north of the church and consists of the lower portion of the cross-shaft with rectangular section
and chamfered edges (dimensions 1.87m; 0.47m x 0.3m)
The ruins in the old graveyard are of a later nave (int. dims. 14m x 6.2m) and chancel church (int. dims. c. 7.4m x
4m), which Corlett considers to most likely be thirteenth-century and described by Curry as being “apparently of
no great antiquity”. Flannery writes that “If there was ever a monastery at Delgany
it would probably have been destroyed at the time of the Reformation and consequent Suppression of the
Monasteries, the stones being removed for use in other buildings”.
The trapezoidal graveyard (dims. 70m x (max.) 45m) is enclosed by a modern (nineteenth-century) wall, and
contains several early eighteenth-century headstones.
Figure 3 An example of an early 18th century headstone
As well as the cross shaft, there is a large granite font in the old churchyard at Delgany that now forms part of a
low wall outside the doorway of the church and which may be of antiquity. Furthermore, a bullaun stone
comprising a large granite boulder with a small cup-shaped depression is also recorded nearby. Bullaun stones are frequently associated with ecclesiastical sites and holy wells and may have been used for religious purposes.