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Kells and the Irish High Cross
     
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TOURING IRELAND
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Kells - the high cross
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This Site best viewed at 800x600

The City of Kells is perhaps most famous for something that used to be in the city, the Book of Kells. Today the city's primary attraction is its round tower, an 11th century church, and several High Crosses.
High Crosses - High crosses are often called Celtic Crosses and usually date from the 700 -1100AD. The central element of a high cross is the intersection of a circle with the standard cross. The very early stone High Crosses are decorated with Celtic motifs, later crosses (mid -800AD and after) incorporate biblical references. You can see many modern representations of the High Cross through out Ireland today; Celtic Cross Jewelry is popular too.

While usually a part of Monastic settlements, many if not all pre 13th century High Crosses have been moved from their original locations. Looking at a model of the early settlement of Kells (located in the Kells' Visitor Center) it appears the orginal placement of the Kells' High Crosses were along the entry routes to the village.

Photo Right - This High Cross, used to be located in the Market square, now it sits out side the Kells' Visitor Center. The cross just returned to public viewing, as it had to undergo restoration after being hit by a car.

Detail Photos
The High Tower

Outside Links:

Irish High Crosses
Archaeology in Ireland

Detail of base carving on the Kells' High Cross.
Photo Left - this High Cross is located near the round tower.

Entering Kells we thought we would either see the round tower or signs directing us to the high crosses. Passing through the village, I realized we were now heading away from the city center and I surmised, we must be moving away from the High Crosses; so I made a quick turn in to a small parking area. Luck was with us this day, I had just pulled in to the Kells' Visitor Center.

The Visitor Center contains a museum on its second floor celebrating the art legacy Kell bequeathed to Ireland. Most of the artifacts on display are detailed replicates of ones on display in the National Museum, including the most authentic replicate of the "Book of Kells'.

The Visitor Center gave us directions to the Church where the high crosses and round tower are located (On our arrival we had missed it by a few blocks). As suggested, we drove through the Church gates and found a few parking spaces avialable on the grounds. If no space had been available we were told to park in the city and aquire a "token" from one of the shops.

More pages on Kells will be forthcoming.


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Most of the information on this website was gather during my families July 2004 visit to Ireland