Monday, 11 March 2013

Moone High Cross

I eventually had the chance to head down to Moone for a wander,  where the famous 7th century High cross stands within the ruins of an old medieval abbey of the same name. The name Moone is said to come from the old Irish "Maen Colmcille" which means "Colmcille's property". The area of Moone is believed to have originated from a monastery which was founded by a St. Palladius, who came to Ireland in 431, and which was later dedicated to St. Columcille. There are actually two crosses to be found here, although only fragments of the second one can be seen which would have been known as a holed cross. The Moone High Cross is also known as the second tallest high cross in Ireland. A make shift roof has been erected to cover the main ruins it seems to protect the site from further weather erosion and when I was here there were a number of construction workers on site whom seemed to be carrying out some restoration work on parts of the wall.

The cross itself, stands at over 17 feet in height which includes the stepped base. It is commonly believed to date from the eighth century. Irish high crosses were not intended to mark out places of burial, but were constructed to act as embellishments or boundaries for monasteries

The shape of the high cross is quite unique, and consists of three parts, the upper part and the stepped base were discovered in the graveyard of the abbey in 1835 and re-erected as a complete cross, but in 1893 the middle section of the shaft was discovered and the cross was finally reconstructed to its original size 60 years after the initial find. This high cross is well worth seeking out for its height and well preserved carving.

 A section of another highly ornamented cross was found and both crosses were moved to the interior of the church ruin in 1995 and some conservation work was done on the large cross. The large cross is believed to have been carved between 900 and 1000 AD. These crosses are part of an impressive monument at Moone and one of the best preserved of its kind in Ireland.

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