Irish High Crosses


In the middle of the 6th century a monastery was founded here by St Colomba, the monastery is famous for an illuminated manuscript, written here in the 7th century, known as the Book of Durrow. West of the Church is a fine High Cross, the East face is pictured on the right, the head features Christ with sceptre and cross -staff, associated with the last judgement, and on his left a piper and David with his harp. On his right David and the lion are depicted. The bottom of the shaft on the East face shows the raised Christ flanked by two angels hovering above St Peter and St Paul. The central panel is a beautiful celtic interlace and the top panel bears the sacrifice of Isaac.The west face as usual has the Crucifixtion on the head and also the arrest of Christ. This is a fine cross standing at 3.60 metres.

Near the cross are some 9th-10th century cross slabs, one of which is shown above. The Church is on private ground and the Cross and Slabs are surrounded by large trees. To view a high resolution image of another cross slab click here.

Latest News, 4th November, 2003 Minister Parlon confirms that the government is to buy Durrow Abbey and High Cross. It is vital that this High Cross is protected from any further deterioration. It is expected that the Durrow Domain and High Cross will be signed over to the State before the end of this month. The Cross and Abbey are now in state ownership.

East face

West face

Above is a selection of panels from the High Cross, The Warrior with plaited beard and two dogs is on the South side. The iconography showing Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel are also on the South side of the Shaft. The Heads with interlacing serpent are under the ring on both the North and South sides. The Flight into Egypt is immediately below the eight spiral bosses on the North side of the High Cross. The last judgement and the interlace panel both appear on the East Face.


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