Irish High Crosses


A monastery was founded here by St Dermot, the monastery was plundered on numerous occasions by the Vikings, there are a Round Tower and two of my favourite High Crosses, the North and South Cross, both of which are granite, plus the base of a third Cross plus a romanesque archway still remaining.

The North Cross

On the right is the north cross west face, showing Adam and Eve at the centre of the head with David with a harp to the left and the Sacrifice of Isaac to the right. Daniel in the lion's den is shown at the top of the shaft with below that the temptation of St Anthony and at the bottom of the shaft are three figures. The western side of the base is decorated with some wonderful spirals. Run the mouse over to see the Crucifixion scene and the twelve apostles on the east face.

Above is a detail of Adam and Eve in the garden left and Daniel in the Lion's Den right.

The North Cross west face

The South Cross west face

The South Cross

The South Cross pictured left, , bears scenes from the bible on the west face, including the Crucifixion at the centre of the head, the sacrifice of Isaac to the right and David with harp to the left, Daniel in the Lion's Den appears in the bottom panel of the shaft and above that is the temptation of St Anthony, Adam and Eve are in the panel above that and the top panel bears a raven bringing bread to St Paul and St Anthony. and

Above right is a detail showing the Crucifixion, on the left is a detail of the base west face showing some animals. . Both crosses were erected in the 9th century.

The South Cross east face


The south cross pictured left, has some wonderful geometric decorative panels inscribed on the east face and the base is plain. The south side base of this cross shown below bears the miracle of the loaves and fishes and on the shaft of the south side are the twelve apostles shown in pairs.

Round Tower and Archway

As you enter the site through the main gate there is the plain base of a third cross on your right and you then walk through a reconstucted romanesque archway, pictured below right. Standing at 20 metres high attached to the modern church is a round tower, this tower has an unusual feature in that the original cap has been replaced with battlements. Scattered around the graveyard are many interesting early grave slabs, a few holed stones and the hogback featured below.rave

The south side base, loaves and fishes


The romanesque archway.

The carved stone found at Castledermot in 1967 is the only example of a Hogback stone in Ireland. The stone lay just below the ground in it's present location. Hogbacks are recumbent monuments with a curved ridge similar to 10th century viking houses at Trelleborg. They are often termed as Houses for the Dead. Although this type of monument originated at viking settlements in North Yorkshire, other examples have also been found in Scotland, none have ever been discovered in scandinavia. It is thought that this particular example may be another form of tomb shrine and could possibly be marking the location of a saints grave. The tomb shrines at Banagher in Derry and St Tighernachs at Clones are known as mortuary houses. Other tomb shrines have also been given the term House, such as St Molaise's house at Devenish Island and the Priest's House at Glendalough.

Situated: In Castledermot, County Kildare, from Dublin take the N7 west, then the N9 South for Carlow. The crosses are in the grounds of St James Church of Ireland, situated in the middle of Castledermot about 7. 5 kilometres South of Moone.

Group: Barrow Valley.

Google Map.

Discovery OS. Map: 61 S 783 851.

Last Visit: March 2007.

Nearest High Crosses featured on this web site

Moone 7. 5 Kilometres further North on the N9.

Old Kilcullen: 22 Kilometres North. Just off the N9.

Glendalough: 35 Kilometres East.

Graiguenamanagh: 42 Kilometres South.



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