Carndonagh Cross




N 55° 14' 59.64"   W 007° 16' 19.32"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

C 46287 44995

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Monday 29 June 2015

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The cross and the pillar stones under the protective canopy seen from the northeast.

At the west end of the town of Carndonagh is the famous Carndonagh Cross, also known as the St. Patrick's Cross.
Carndonagh was one of the first religious centres in Donegal and it is thought to have been founded by St. Patrick.

The cross is very old, dating probably from the 7th century. It's flanked by two pillar stones. They are all set in a concrete and cobble stones base.
The three stones are now sheltered under a timber canopy, that protects them from the elements, but prevent the sunlight to illuminate the carvings, so that the photos result rather dull. I think that a glass structure would have been better.
The cross is 2.65 metres tall, 62 centimetres wide at the base. The shaft tapers at 50 centimetres towards the head, then the arms gently open at 1.09 metres.
On the east-northeast (75°) face of the cross is a trefoil pattern on the head and a naive crucifixion scene on the shaft. Christ is shown with his short arms spread and with an unusual smile on his face. On his sides, below his arms, there are two figures that might be the two thieves crucified along with him. Above Christ's arms there are two angels. Below Christ are three figures walking in line to the left. They might represent the three women going to the Holy Sepulchre.
The other side of the cross has interlaced patterns and a hole in the centre of the head. The narrow sides of the cross bear other human figures that cannot be identified.

The pillar cross on the south side of the cross shows the effigies of two ecclesiastical men, one of them carries a book, the other carries a bell. There's the outline of a face on the west side of this pillar.
The pillar cross on the north side of the cross shows David the Warrior, with a dagger on his side, and David the Harpist.

In the graveyard of the nearby Church of Ireland church, 30 metres west, is a wonderful Cross pillar.

We came here on May 3rd, 1997, and returned on May 6th, 2002. The timber canopy wasn't there the last time we visited the place.

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