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Moone High Cross
 

County

Kildare

Coordinates

N 52° 58' 45.9"   W 006° 49' 30.7"

Nearest town

Baltinglass

Grid Ref.

S 78964 92687

Map No.

55

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

105

Date of visit

Friday 14 September 2012

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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Looking at the magnificent Moone High Cross from the east.


This fantastic high cross is in the ruins of a very old church built in the 14th century on the site of an early monastery founded by St. Palladius in 431. The monastery was later dedicated to St. Colmcille.
The ruins are at the end of a well kept 70 metres long path.
The cross was found buried in the ground during some works in the nearby graveyard in 1835. It was broken in three pieces, but only the base and the upper section were found during these works, the middle section was discovered in 1893 and was later added to get the cross as it is today. Because it had been buried for centuries, it is really well preserved and every detail is still visible today, though it dates from the 10th century.
The cross is 3.48 metres tall and stands on a base that is 1.75 metres tall, thus giving a total height of 5.23 metres.
The arms open at 1.17 metres, the shaft is 40 centimetres wide and thick. The cross is perfectly aligned east-west.
The cross is richly and finely decorated in each of its part, from the base to the top, with scenes from the Old and New Testament.

In the same church there are the fragments of another high cross but they are only two pieces of the upper part of the shaft and three pieces of the head. All the fragments are displayed and mounted on modern granite bases. This cross is called the "Holed Cross" because the head had a circular perforation at the intersection of the arms. The decorations on these fragments show mainly animal figures, an unusual characteristic for this kind of monuments.
Though they are presented as an attempt of reconstruction of a second cross, it's clear enough that the fragments of the shaft don't match in size and shape, so I think that most likely the crosses at this site were three, not two.

The first time we came here was on June 3rd, 2001, and the place was busy with several people. This time we were only the two of us and the feeling was wonderful.
On the ruins of the church a new transparent roof has been built 7 or 8 years ago to protect this masterpiece from the elements.

This was our last visit for the year 2012.


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