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Balrath Cross
 

County

Meath

Coordinates

N 53° 37' 19.3"   W 006° 29' 24.1"

Nearest town

Duleek

Grid Ref.

N 99964 64618

Map No.

43

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

47

Date of visit

Wednesday 3 May 2006

GPS Accuracy (m)

5
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The east face of the Balrath cross as you see it from the road. The Pietà is clearly visible.


At the crossroads between the N2 and R153 there's this fine cross dated from the 16th century.
On the east face there's a representation of the Pietà. On the west face there is a crucifixion. The north face of the cross has geometric patterns.
There is an iscription that reads "ORATE P..AJA JOHANIS BROIN".
Probably this cross was re-erected in 1727 and the inscription "Sir Andrew Aylmer of Mountaylemer Bart and his Lady Catherine Aylmer had this cross beautified A.D. 1727 Pr. H. Smith" was added later.
The monument sits in a space along a wall that fences a land. Behind the cross there's a turnstile that grants the access to the field, where a certain number of cows were grazing.

UPDATE: May 28th, 2014 - At last we found this beautiful cross again. It once stood at the crossroads between the N2 and R153, but during the major roadworks to widen the N2 the cross had been moved and when I asked some locals where it had been taken, none of them was able to tell me. Some told me it had been moved to a museum in Kells.
Actually the cross hadn't moved too much, it is only 400 metres away, in an old graveyard off the R153.
The cross may resemble the one in Duleek, it seems that this style of cross was a tradition in county Meath between the end on the 15th century and the begininning of the 18th century.
On its east face there's a Pietà, and below this image is a prayer in Latin for John Broin. Below the prayer is an English inscription that reads: "Sir Andrew Aylmer of Mountaylmer and his lady Catherine Aylmer had this cross beautified AD 1727. H Smith."
On its west face there's a crucifixion, and below it is a symbol of infinity and other carvings that I couldn't make out.
The face of the north arm carries a carving of a human face, the north side of the shaft has a symbol that looks like a knot, below it there's something that I haven't understood and below it again is a triquetra, or trefoil knot.
The only decoration on the south side is a carved human face on the south arm.
The cross must have been broken in two sometime in the far past. Two iron brackets keep the two halves together.
The cross is 1.82 metres tall, the arms open at 58 centimetres, at its base the shaft is 28 centimetre wide and 23 centimetres thick.
In the same graveyard there are the ruins of a church and some nice grave slabs.


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