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Monasterboice High Cross & Round Tower

The Cross of Muiredach at Monasterboice is the finest High Cross in Ireland and is highly regarded as one of the best surviving examples of Irish religious art


Monasterboice is one Ireland's earliest and best known religious sites. The monastery was founded by the little-known St. Buite (who died in 521 ad). Monasterboice derives from the Irish Mainistir Bhuithe meaning 'Buite's Monastery'. It was an important centre of learning and remained in existence until 1122 ad. The site comprises two churches and a round tower. The tower was burned in 1097 ad, destroying the monastic library and other treasures; however, it is in excellent condition. The Vikings occupied the site for a period until they were routed by Domhnall, King of Tara, in 968 ad.


The site also contains two of the finest High Crosses in Ireland - the Cross of Muiredach and the Tall Cross (or West Cross) - which date from the 9th century. The crosses are finely carved and depict biblical scenes of both the Old and New Testaments. The, appropriately named, Tall Cross is the tallest high cross in Ireland, standing at around 7m.


The cross nearest the graveyard entrance is Muirdeach's Cross, an outstanding example of high crosses of the Early Christian period in Ireland. It is a monolith, 17ft high. St Muiredach's Cross is widely regarded as the finest of its type in Ireland. The thyme of the cross is Christ the King with the cross and the re are depictions fron the Old Testement from Adam and Eve , Cain slaying Able to the Last Day. The cross is 5.2 metres high. The West Cross is the tallest high cross in Ireland is 7 metres high and there is an unusual crucifixion scene on the west face of this cross. There is a third but much less spectacular North Cross.


The South church is the older of the two and it still has the remains of the chancel arch. The smaller church is situated beside the Round Tower and has no trace of a chancel. The Round Tower is about 100ft high. It is now missing its upper part and conical cap. The door is six feet above ground level and is approached by a modern flight of steps.


Also at Monasterboice is a fine example of an Irish Round Tower , these were used as protection against the Vikings.


The site is open 24/7 and during June , July and August there is a local guiding service.


Address: Monasterboice, Co Louth
Email: droghedatouristoffice@gmail.com
Phone: +353 41 983 7070