The Celtic cross is one of the most well-known Irish symbols and Celtic symbols. Other well-known examples are the Claddagh and the harp. They are significant reminders of our ancestry since they are steeped in history. It’s possible that their history, significance, and symbolism may blow your mind!
A minimum of sixty Celtic crosses can be found in Ireland, in addition to a number of ancient ruins. The majority of the Celtic crosses that are still in existence today were commissioned and built up until around the middle of the 12th century. After the end of the 12th century, hardly any new crosses were built, and this practice almost completely died out.
These magnificent crosses were often put up as boundary markers, such as at the intersections of parishes, or as memorials encircling monasteries, cathedrals, or churches. In certain cases, they were also utilized as a form of transportation. It is a common misconception that they were used as gravestones, although that was not the case. However, since the 1850s, modern crosses have seen an upsurge in favor of usage as gravestones.
The elaborate carvings that can be seen on many of these crosses add a great deal to their aesthetic value. The crosses’ fundamental form is not the only thing that makes them attractive. The degree of attention to detail and the high quality of the artwork are characteristics that are often reserved for priceless manuscripts like the Book of Kells.
What is the earliest known example of a Celtic cross?
Carndonagh, in County Donegal, is home to what is sometimes referred to as the Donagh or St. Patrick’s Cross. This cross is said to be one of the earliest free-standing stone crosses to have survived in Ireland. According to local folklore, Saint Patrick and his Irish missionaries established a church or monastery at this location sometime around the fifth century. One of the earliest examples of a Christian cross to be seen outside of mainland Europe, the St. Patrick’s High Cross, also known as the Donagh Cross, dates back to the seventh century. The stone, which formerly belonged to an early Christian monastery established by St. Patrick and can be located on Church Road next to the Carndonagh Community School, was removed at some point.
5 Important Celtic Crosses of Ireland:
- The High Crosses of Kells, Co Meath
- Celtic Cross of the Scriptures, County Offaly
- Celtic cross in Drumcliffe, County Sligo
- St. Patrick’s High Cross
- Muiredach Celtic Cross, County Louth
CELTIC CROSSES OF IMPORTANCE ARE LOCATED IN IRELAND
The following are examples of some of the most significant Celtic crosses that can be found throughout Ireland. This brief list is not meant to be exhaustive; rather, its purpose is to provide a concise explanation of some of the crosses that are considered to be more noteworthy. If you can think of an important Celtic cross that we have neglected, by all means, please use the comment function at the foot of this page, and we will do our best to add information about the cross based on what you tell us.
The High Crosses of Kells, Co Meath
Monks from the monastery of Saint Colmcille on Iona have been credited for re-founding the Monastery at Kells in the year 804 CE. In addition to the Book of Kells, the town is well-known for the five High Crosses that can be found there. The Market cross is the fifth and most well-known of the crosses, and it is situated on the grounds of St. Columcille’s Church on the west side of town. Three of the crosses and the base of a fourth cross are also placed on the grounds of the church. At the moment, it may be found on the northern side of the old Navan Road, to the west of the old courthouse, at its original location.
The South Cross, also known as the Cross of St. Patrick and St. Columba, is regarded to be the oldest cross at Kells. It is the most well-known and well-recognized of all the crosses at Kells. Sandstone was used to sculpt this structure, which is 3.3 meters tall and made from a single piece.
Celtic Cross of the Scriptures, County Offaly
Two whole High Crosses and the shaft of a third may be found among the various artifacts that were discovered at Clonmacnoise. The most well-known artifact, the Cross of the Scriptures, which is sometimes referred to as King Flann’s Cross, serves as the centerpiece of the recently constructed interpretative center. The monastic colony at Clonmacnoise was established in the sixth century and is comprised of the remains of a cathedral as well as seven churches and two round towers. Two high crosses are among the numerous ruins that can be seen in Clonmacnoise, and both of them are still in their original condition. Around thirty years ago, in order to ensure their continued existence, these two crosses were relocated inside of the interpretative center. Replicas of extraordinary quality have been installed in their former places outside the building. The Crucifixion is depicted in the middle of the Cross of the Scriptures on the west face of the structure. Other biblical scenes are also included.
Celtic Cross in Drumcliffe, County Sligo
This exquisitely carved High Cross may be seen at Drumcliffe, which is located in County Sligo. Saint Colmcille is credited with establishing a monastery at this location in the sixth century. The Cross was most likely made in the 11th century. The church and cemetery where W. B. Yeats is buried may be seen in the background of this picture.
St. Patrick’s High Cross
One of the earliest examples of a Christian cross to be seen outside of mainland Europe, the St. Patrick’s High Cross, also known as the Donagh Cross, dates back to the seventh century. The stone, which formerly belonged to an early Christian monastery established by St. Patrick and can be located on Church Road next to the Carndonagh Community School, was removed at some point. This gorgeously ornamented Cross is a fusion of old Celtic art and Christian traditions, as seen by its use of biblical themes. The Cross of Saint Patrick is regarded as one of the most significant early Christian relics in Britain and Ireland and may be seen in the town of Carndonagh, which is located in the county of Donegal. It occupies the site of an ancient church that was established by Saint Patrick.
Muiredach Celtic Cross, County Louth
This stunning example of Celtic design is widely acknowledged to be among the country’s most outstanding examples. The towering crucifix reaches a height of only a hair under 18 feet. It is largely agreed upon that Muiredach mac Domhnaill, the individual responsible for the building of the cross, is the source of the name of the cross. He died in 923.
The depiction of biblical events on the cross panels had a significant impact on the overall design of the instrument. In broad strokes, the east side of the structure is influenced more by the Old Testament, while the New Testament is more apparent on the west side. Additionally, there are a few panels the significance of which is not quite obvious.
Considering we sell a number of different Celtic Crosses in the shape of jewelry and other types of Irish gifts, we are often questioned about the components that make up a Celtic cross. We have high hopes that you will find this post informative and entertaining, and that you will take away something new from reading it. Maybe even make plans to visit this religious monument one day. They are truly a sight to see. We hope you enjoy our collection of Traditional Celtic Cross Necklaces and Unique Celtic Cross Pendants in Gold and Silver. Celtic Cross Jewelry is inspired by Irish and Scottish Heritage.
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