Drumcliffe High Cross




N 54° 19' 34.0"   W 008° 29' 42.1"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

G 67841 42043

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Tuesday 3 June 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The east (108°) face of the high cross. The round tower is in the background.

We came back to this cross after a long time. It was May 8th, 2002, when we came here for the first time.
St. Colmcille founded a monastery here in 574 on the land that the high king Aodh mac Ainmuirech, son of Ainmire mac Sétnai, gave him.
The only remains of that monastery are the high cross and the round tower on the other side of the N15 that unfortunately runs through the site.
The high cross probably date from the 11th century and is richly decorated on all its faces.
It's 3.04 metres tall, the arms open at 1.12 metres, the shaft is 47 centimetres wide and 31 centimetres thick. The cross stands on a stone base which is 85 centimetres high. The base is set into the boundary wall of the graveyard at a height of 1.41 centimetres, thus giving the high cross an apparent total height of 5.30 metres.
The east (108°) face of the high cross depicts, from the head to the bottom, the Judgment Day, David in the Lions' Den, David killing Goliath, a Lion, Adam and Eve under the Apple Tree with the Serpent between them wrapped around the trunk of the tree.
The west (288°) face depicts, from the head of the bottom, the Crucifixion, two persons who might be the Holy Family, the Mocking of Christ, a Camel, three figures holding a child, probably Zacharias and Elizabeth who present their son John in the Temple.
Both the north and south faces have spirals and interlacing patterns on the shaft, and animal carvings around the head.
The end of the south arm shows a Virgin with the Child, the only one representation of this kind in all Ireland.
In the graveyard of the church, dedicated to St. Columba, is the burial place of William Butler Yeats.

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