The original Columban foundation, known as “Moin Cholum Cille,” is located near Moone in the county of Kildare. The cross of Moone was lost for years, buried, and in parts, but you can see the tall, slender Celtic Cross at Monasterboice standing where the monks set it. The cross’s capstone is still missing.
The discovery of the cross is a fascinating tale. A local mason was excavating stone from the Abbey remains in the middle of the nineteenth century, shortly after the Great Famine, for building projects when he discovered the cross’ base and head.
The cross’s shaft was discovered a few years later as some other workers were preparing a burial in the ruin’s grounds. Three brothers from the O’Shaughnessy family, who were the sons of Michael O’Shaughnessy, who discovered the cross’s component parts forty years earlier and survived to see the finished cross raised, carefully pieced the pieces together in 1893.
The work was completed, and the bill is still in existence. Its total cost was £8.07s, of which £5 was provided by the Kildare Archeological Society and the remaining £8.07s by Mr. F.M. Carrol of Moone Abbey House. The cross itself dates to the early nineteen century. It seems to follow the same tradition as the “midland” group of crosses, which served as models for the larger crosses that were carved and built in the Northern Province in the late ninth and early tenth centuries. In the Crucifixion picture on the base, the figure is draped but, interestingly, the spear is represented penetrating Our Lord’s right side. It features the ringed head that we all identify with Celtic crosses.
The cross is made of granite and is most likely from Castledermot. It includes extensive Celtic decorations, including curvilinear and geometric patterns, as well as human figures, but they are rough-hewn and stylized. It is the first cross, according to academics, where scenes from the Old Testament are shown on a regular basis. This is a significant advance in the history of the Irish High Crosses.
- Double-sided replica cross.
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- Height: 1.5 inches.
- Width: 1.71 inches.
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