The Moone High Cross, Moone, County Kildare

The Moone High Cross is regarded as a masterpiece among granite crosses and dates from the 10th century. It is the second tallest in Ireland and is one of only 200 High Crosses to survive. High Crosses were erected near entrances to monasteries or were commissioned by High Kings to show the close relationship they had to the church. They were never erected as grave markers. The shape of this cross is quite unique, consisting of three parts. The upper part and the base were discovered in the graveyard of the abbey in 1835 and were re-erected by the Duke of Leinster in 1850. In 1893 the middle section was then discovered and the cross was finally reconstructed to its original size, now standing at nearly 18-feet tall. This was originally the site of an early Christian monastery reputedly founded by St Colmcille in the 6th century AD. The name ‘Moone’ actually translates from ‘Maen Colmcille’ meaning ‘Colmcille’s property’. Scenes depicted on the cross and shaft are Daniel in the lion’s pit, the three children in the fiery furnace and the miracle of the loaves and fishes. The carvings due to the fact that they were buried for so long are in a remarkable state of preservation. The crosses have been recently cleaned and a modern plastic roof provides them with protection from the elements.