Irish High Crosses

Old Kilcullen Monastic Site

Old Kilcullen


A monastery was founded here in the 5th century by St Patrick. The only remaining remnants today are the stump of a round tower, the scant remains of a Romanesque church, the shaft of a well worn high cross, the base of another cross and the shaft of the high cross pictured right. This shaft, stands at 2 metres high and is carved on all four sides, the east side shown right, has the 12 apostles in three panels. The north face, to the left in the image below bears David and the lion, some interlacing and a bishop believed to be St Mac Tail (died 548) who was one of the monasteries earliest bishops.





The Twelve Apostles

From the East

Western cross

The south side has 3 panels of ornament the top panel being a human interlace. The west side, to the right of the image shown left bears iconography depicting from the top down: A horseman blowing a trumpet, Samson slaying a lion and below that, figures with an ass that may represent the flight into Egypt. The most eastern of the crosses may have borne iconography but is too badly worn to make out any detail. The other base is undecorated. According to the Annals of the Four Masters Kilcullen was plundered by the Danish in 936 and 944 AD. The graveyard is still in use today.


Cross Shaft and Round Tower

Situated: In Old Kilcullen, County Kildare. From Dublin take the N7 West then the N9 South, take the Kilcullen exit then turn right onto the N78 heading SW. Take the second left, this takes you up to a graveyard, this is the site of the old monastery at Kilcullen.

Discovery Map 55: N 8296 0708. Last Visit: Apr 2012.

Longitude: 6° 45' 39" W

Latitude: 53° 6' 28" N

Google Map.

Nearest High Crosses featured on this website

Moone: 15 Kilometres South. on the N9

Castledermot: 22 Kilometres South on the N9.

Glendalough: 31 Kilometres East.



Photos: Jim Dempsey

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