Famous High Crosses of Ireland Inspire Jewelry Collection

Ireland is famous for its High Crosses and these rich historical treasures dotted around the landscape of the country tell the story of our heritage. They are now one of the most easily recognized sacred symbols in the world.

High Cross at Glendalough

Two of Ireland’s greatest Celtic Crosses, the Muiredach’s Cross and the West Cross at Monasterboice are situated in County Louth, the home of Rings from Ireland. To celebrate this unique story from the history of Ireland, there is a beautiful collection of Celtic Cross jewelry available in silver, yellow gold and white gold.

Muiredach's Cross, Monasterboice
West Cross, Monasterboice
Muiredach's Cross, Monasterboice West Cross, Monasterboice
High Crosses, also known as Celtic Crosses, which can be found at important monastic sites, are Ireland’s biggest contribution to the Western European Art of the Middle Ages.

But what was their purpose? They were used to mark meeting points for religious ceremonies and also to mark boundaries and mark a place as sacred and as hallowed ground. Early Monastic settlements usually included a church, a cross and sometimes even a round tower. Mass goers would gather around the cross to pray together. The magnificent stone monuments that we see today were predated by much smaller crosses made of wood and metal.

Western Ossory Group
The earliest examples of High Crosses in Ireland are known as the Western Ossory group and they are thought to be 8th or 9th century. They can be found in a concentrated area in places known as Kilree, Killamery and Kilkieran, all in Kilkenny and Ahenny in Tipperary.

Scriptural Crosses
Dating from the 9th century, there are several local groupings of Scriptural Crosses that are extremely significant. These became more pictorial and were known as ‘transitionary crosses’. The best known group is in the Midlands and includes Clonmacnoise and Durrow. The North Leinster Group includes Duleek in Meath, Monasterboice in Louth and Kells, County Meath. Another distinctive grouping of High Crosses can be found in the Barrow Valley and these include Castledermot and Moone in Kildare and Ullard and Graiguenamanagh in Kilkenny.

Typically, a High Cross was built in three and sometimes even four parts. The lower part was a very large base in a conical or pyramidal base and then the upper part of the cross would be slotted in to this. The cross-head, which is the part with the arms of the cross and the ring, was thought to have been manufactured all in one piece and it was then topped off with a capstone. It is thought that the crosses were raised in situ before the final and detailed carvings were completed. Most crosses were made from sandstone as it was easy to work with and produce detailed carvings.

Silver Celtic Cross
Silver Celtic Cross Necklace Gold Celtic Cross Necklace with Emerald

Why not visit one of Ireland’s famous High Crosses and see the inspiration for the Rings from Ireland collection of Celtic cross jewelry, created by local craftsmen and artisans and featuring some of the very patterns and symbols found on the original crosses.
Posted on September 12, 2014

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