The monastery and school of Clonmacnoise was founded by St. Kieran, the carpenters son, about the year 544. It grew to be the greatest of the Irish universities. Some of the most distinguished scholars of Ireland, if not of Europe, were educated at Clonmacnoise, including Alcuin, the most learned man at the French court, who remembered his Alma Mater so affectionately that he extracted from King Charles of France a gift of fifty shekels of silver, to which he added fifty more of his own, and sent them to the brotherhood of Clonmacnois as a gift. (Douglas Hyde, A Literary History of Ireland.) Clonmacnoise contains a famous sculptured cross and many sculptured stones. It was sacked at different times during the invasions.