Irish High Crosses


Kilfenora is situated in the Burren region of County Clare. St Fachtna founded a monastery there during the sixth century. The present Cathedral was built between 1189 and 1200. There were originally seven crosses in Kilfenora and it was known as the city of the crosses, in 1821 one of its finest crosses was removed to Killaloe, of the remaining six crosses three are complete, these include the most famous of all, the Doorty Cross and also the West Cross.

Since my last visit to Kilfenora, major restoration has taken place to the Lady Chapel at the Cathedral, where a perspex roof has been added, and the High crosses have been moved into here for protection.

The Doorty Cross pictured left in 2002 and pictured right in 2009 after restoration. The east face bears the figure of a bishop in high relief carrying a volute crozier representing the Roman Church. Beneath this are two more bishops thrusting their croziers into a winged creature below. One is tau shaped representing the Coptic Church and the other signifies the Celtic Church.

The West Cross

The West Cross out in a field on its own, stands some 4.6 metres high and the east face bears a crucified Christ and geometric design.

Above is a design featured on the west face of the west cross.





Pictured below reading from left to right are, the north cross, the south cross, the possible east cross and a detail from the east face of the Doorty Cross

Below are a few features from the chancel of the Cathedral showing two effigial slabs, unfortunately these slabs have been moved to the entrance to the Cathedral and are lying flat.

Situated: In the centre of Kilfenora town. Access is very easy with a car park close by. Signposted.

Google Map.

Discovery OS. Map: 51 R 1830 9401.

Longitude: 9° 13' 0" W

Latitude: 52° 59' 26" N

Last Visit: May 2009

Nearest other cross sites

Noughaval: 3..5 Kilometres NE.

Corofin: Clare Heritage centre: 12.5 Kms ESE.

Dysert: 13.5 Kilometres SE.

Killaloe (Originally at Kilfenora): 76.5 Kilometres ESE.


Pics: Jim Dempsey.

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