Irish High Crosses


The monastery at Moone in County Kildare is believed to have been established by St Palladius in the 5th century and dedicated to St Columcille in the 6th century. The 10th century granite cross is the second tallest high cross in Ireland. The shape and style are quite unique. It consists of three parts, a base, a shaft and a head. The head or upper part, and the base were discovered in the graveyard of the abbey in 1835 and re-erected on the church grounds as a complete cross. In 1893 the middle section of the shaft was discovered and the cross was reconstructed to its original size. Now standing at 7.04 metres tall, the cross has been re-erected inside the ruins of the medieval church.

West Face

East Face

The theme of the cross is the help of God, how God came to assist people during their hour of need. An another unusual feature of this cross is t all the biblical scenes appear on the base of the cross. Daniel in the lions pit, the three children in the fiery furnace, the fall of man and the miracle of the loaves and fishes are amongst the scenes depicted. All four sides of the shaft are decorated with animal or bird carvings. It would have been interesting to see how the naive figure carvings, shown below, appeared after being painted. At the centre of the head on the west face is an ancient spiral sun swastika, and anther pre-Christian sun symbol, the lozenge can been seen below it. A resurrected Christ is depicted at the centre of the head on the east face.

The 12 Apostles are carved on the base of the west side, below the crucifixion.

The Temptation of St Anthony and a six-headed beast on the north base.

East face showing Daniel in the Lions pit and the sacrifice of Isaac.

South side, the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the flight into Egypt.

Crucifixion scene

Three children in the fiery furnace

In about 2010 restoration work was carried out at the site. The High Cross was cleaned and protective roofing panels were erected on the old church.

Also present at Moone are the fragments of a holed High Cross, the image above shows what part of the cross those fragments may have belonged to. Two cross bases are also present in the graveyard to the north and south of the church

After restoration.

Situated: In Moone, County Kildare, from Dublin take the N7 west, then the N9 South for Carlow, about 31 kilometres South of Naas take a left for Moone, drive through the village until you see a sign for the High Cross, take a right, after about 1 1/2 kilometres you will see another sign, park next to the stone wall on your right, go through the stile, the cross is situated inside the church walls.

Group: Barrow Valley.

Google Map.

Discovery Map: 55 S 7889 9271. Last Visit: Sept 2015.

Longitude: 6° 49' 31" W

Latitude: 52° 58' 46" N

Nearest High Crosses featured on this website

Castledermot: 7. 5 Kilometres south on the N9.

Old Kilcullen: 15 Kilometres North.

Glendalough: 33 Kilometres East.

Graiguenamanagh: 50 Kilometres South.




Photos: Jim Dempsey.

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