Celtic High Cross at Drumcliff

This is the Celtic high cross at Drumcliff (Droim Chliabh), Sligo, Ireland. The carvings on the cross are of Biblical scenes such as Adam and Eve and decorative motifs such as celtic knots. St. Colmcille (St. Columba) founded a monastery here. The round tower across the road and the high cross survive from the monastery. The round tower was built between 900 and 1200. The high cross may be from as late as 1100. Columcille was born in 521 and moved to Iona in 563 and died in 597. Benbulben mountain is in the background.

I had previously photographed this Celtic high cross in 2004. I also photographed the other side of this cross in 2007.

A celtic high cross carved from sandstone with celtic knots and images from the Bible. It is over 12 feet tall including the pedestal that it rests upon.

A sign near the Drumcliff Church says:

Drumcliffe Monastery

This monastery, which is now divided in two by the main road. was founded by St. Colmcille about 574 on land donated to him by a local king. Later coarbs of the monastery (guardians who were responsible for administration) were often members of Colmcille's family, the CenÚl Conaill. In 1267 the monastery suffered extensive fire damage.

The 10th or 11th century Round Tower, which was struck by lightning in 1396, originally had a doorway high above ground level and facing eastwards, probably towards the doorway of the monastery's principal church.

The High Cross, which dates from about the 9th century, has on its east face carvings of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Daniel in the Lion's Den and Christ in Glory, and on its west face a Crucifixion and other unidentified images. There is also extensive interlacing and animal ornament. These crosses were used to illustrate stories from the Bible to a mostly illiterate congration.

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