Scattered throughout Ireland, these stone monuments celebrate and commemorate great people and depict scenes from history. From impossible High Crosses to smaller gravestone monuments, these stones come in various shapes and size and help us remember loved ones.
Inspiration for Celtic Cross Jewelry comes from many places. St. Patrick’s influence can be seen all over Ireland, in the heart of the cities and in the rolling green fields. All across Ireland, Celtic crosses stand tall. Visitors seek out the most famous ones at Kells, County Meath and Clonmacnoise, County Offaly, and sometimes they’re surprised to stumble across less famous ones while driving around the island. It’s a popular motif for gravestones as well as Irish jewelry.
While the meaning of the cross as a Christian symbol is obvious, Celtic crosses have a distinct history and context. Long before Patrick spread the message of a new faith in Ireland, the Irish landscape was dotted with carved stones. At Newgrange, elaborately carved boulders mark the entrance to the Neolithic passage tomb. Ogham stones have stood for centuries with their own script paying tribute to people and places that were important to our ancestors. Roscomon and Galway are home to surviving La Tene stones, beautifully carved with flowing spirals. So when Christianity arrived, the ancient Irish adapted their traditional stone carving to reflect their new beliefs.
Like other, older carved stone monuments, many of Ireland’s Celtic crosses are more than ornaments. They are texts. The bases feature carved illustrations of important Bible scenes as well as decorative knotwork and other designs. They may have been used as places to instruct people about
the story of Christianity when the faith was new in Ireland and not just monuments.
Ireland’s Most Famous Celtic Crosses,
Ireland’s standing crosses date back to the early Middle Ages, the period where Ireland earned it’s reputation as the land of saints and scholars because of its many monasteries. Visitors to Ireland can see these amazing structures in person. These four are amazing surviving examples of the art of the standing Celtic cross.
Kells, County Meath: This small town has a big reputation for the Book of Kells, but it was also home to five standing Celtic crosses. Three surviving ones and the base of a fourth are on the grounds of what is now the Church of Ireland. The fifth, known as the Market Cross or the Gate Cross, stands by the courthouse under a shelter.
Clonmacnoise, County Offaly: The remains of this monastery perched on the banks of the mighty River Shannon are incredible. The site includes three Celtic crosses as well as two round towers.
Monasterboice, County Louth: This ancient abbey is home to three crosses. One is well- preserved but the other two have suffered more from the elements. The site also boasts two ruined churches and a round tower. Cashel, County Tipperary: The Rock of Cashel is a stunning complex of monastic buildings on a hilltop with amazing views. It was originally the site of the Kings of Munster, and Brian Boru was crowned there. It was also where St. Patrick baptized King Angus, making him the first Christian king in Ireland. The remains the Cross of St. Patrick are here.
Celtic crosses are a beautiful link to one’s faith and to Ireland’s rich heritage. Hand crafted in sterling silver with rhodium plate, these Celtic cross necklaces are a gorgeous accessory. A great gift idea for Catholics as a reminder of faith and family.
All designs are designed and made in Ireland as well as hallmarked in the Irish Assay Office which is based in Dublin Castle, Ireland and is a sign of quality and purity.
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