Irish High Crosses



Monasterboice County Louth, The Monastery which was founded by Saint Buite, who died in 521 AD, contains two of the finest High Crosses in Ireland, both of these Crosses are made of sandstone and date to around the 9th century. The site also has a round tower, which is in excellent condition.

The Cross of Muiredach, west face, pictured on the right, gets its name from an inscription at the base of the west face, saying it was erected by Muiredach. The cross is around 5.2 metres high. The theme of the cross is Christ the King, Lord of the Earth. Below is a detail from the bottom of the west face showing Christ being mocked by Roman soldiers

Above is a detail from the east side of the cross showing Adam and Eve in the garden and Cain Slaying Abel. In general the east side of a high cross will contain scenes from the Old Testament and the west side scenes from the New Testament.

West Face Click here for more Detailed image

The Inscription at the base of the west side, seen between two cats playing reads,OR DO MUIREDACH LASNDERNAD.....RO, A prayer for Muiredach who had the cross erected. Run the mouse over to help reveal the inscription.

The Tall Cross or West Cross, The tallest high cross in Ireland, pictured on the left, stands about 7 metres high. This cross is unusual in that the crucifixion scene, on the west face has a fully clothed figure of christ, a detail of which is shown below left, because of its size this cross has more iconography than any other cross in Ireland.

Above right is a detail from the east face showing Moses smiting the water from a rock. Amongst the other scenes are Samson toppling the pillars of the temple, David with the head of Goliath, the Temptation of St Anthony, the Baptism of Christ, Christ in the Tomb, Samual anointing David and Pilate washing his hands.

There is a third High Cross in the graveyard at Monasterboice, only part of which is the original and this cross is plain compared to Muiredachs and the West Cross, the only sciptural scene being the Crucifixion.

The North Cross, west face pictured on the right.








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