The Cross of Muiredach is a Celtic cross, a remnant of the Monasterboice monastery, a religious building from the 6th century. This cross is considered to be a true masterpiece of Celtic art, due to the complexity of its sculpture and its monumental aspect.
The Cross of Muiredach would be the work of an abbot of the same name, having lived in Monasterboice between the 9th and 10th centuries. A great draftsman, the man thus devoted several years of his life to drawing, designing and then sculpting what is considered to be the highest cross in Ireland.
The most attentive among you will notice moreover that the cross carries its claw: an inscription bearing the name of Muiredach appears in good place on the cross, wedged between two big cats and networks of interlacing.
The colossal work of this cross will have required many years of work and know-how. We lack data on the creation of the sculpture, but it is very likely that the abbot was helped by other disciples (at that time, monks engaged in all sorts of activities, of which sculpture could sometimes be a part).
Nowadays, the cross is still intact. Visitors flock there every year to admire all its subtleties. It must be said that the ornamentations are so numerous that one could spend several days contemplating it!
The Cross of Muiredach is 5.8 metres high and is located near the Round Tower of Monasterboice. It was erected in 913 after several years of hard work. Entirely in gré, it was carved on its 4 faces with extreme finesse and subtlety.
More than 70 scenes from the Old Testament have been carved here, around a central scene of the Last Judgement. The cross in its entirety comprises more than 124 carved figures and animals. Interlacing and other Celtic motifs decorate the four facades of the cross, while an engraved inscription on the west side bears the name “Muiredach“, the name of an abbot who existed in the 10th century.