Devenish - Cross Cross




N 54° 22' 11.64"   W 007° 39' 24.96"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

H 22293 46861

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Tuesday 19 June 2018

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The Devenish Island monastery as it appears when you arrive on the island.

We had this settlement on our visit list for years, but never got to actually go to it. When eventually the time was right, we were welcomed to the island by one of the heaviest rains ever seen, so our visit was totally ruined and all the photos are... wet!
My camera was literally flooded by the heavy rain and it took a whole day to recover to full operation.

Devenish Island is the seat of one of the finest monastic settlements in Northern Ireland. St. Molaise established the monastery in the 6th century, along one of the pilgrim routes to Croagh Patrick, in Co. Mayo. The settlement on Devenish Island became a centre of scholarship and later was chosen as the site of the parish church. The settlement was raided by the Vikings in 837, and burned in 1157.
The name Devenish comes from the Irish Daimhinis, meaning "Ox Island".

This unusual cross is in the old burial ground within the monastic settlement, to the southeast of the Priory.
The cross dates from the 15th century and apparently has no similarities with any other cross in Ireland. The whole cross is decorated with plaiting, ropes and vine leaves, in the same style as the late medieval sacristy door in the Priory. This might indicate that the mason of that door and this cross was the same.
The head of the cross has an unusual shape, with a rhomboidal window in the centre.
On the northeast (65°) face of the cross, at the top of the shaft, a Crucifixion scene is depicted.
On the southeast side of the shaft, right under the elegant carved plaiting motif, there's a carved head with circular brooch.
On the northwest side of the shaft there's a floral motif.
The southwest side of the shaft has a double plaiting decoration with a small niche right under them.

The cross is 2.97 metres tall, 33 centimetres wide and 24 centimetres thick.

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