Kells : High Cross

Grid RefN 740 758
Longitude6° 52' 43.45" W
Latitude53° 43' 35.71" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownMullagh (10.5 Km)
OS Sheet42
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192

This is a subsite of:

Kells - Round Tower
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Visit Notes

Monday, 3rd June 2002

There are several crosses in the churchyard near to the round tower . The first is an unfinished cross with just the crucifixion completed. The remainder of the cross is just blank squares ready for carving.

Next to the round tower is the 'tower cross' or south cross. This like the market cross is sculptured with many biblical scenes, including the Killing of Abel, the Children in the Fiery Furnace and David with his Harp.

To the north-west of the tower and somewhat hidden is the stump of the mighty west cross. This must have been a very tall chappie indeed. This cross includes the Ark, the Fall of Man and the Entry into Jerusalem.

Near to the lone tower is the base of the west cross. Mounted on the side of the tower is a cross slab.

Round Towers are found all over Ireland. They are very tall towers associated with early monastic settlements. Their purpose is one of much debate: were they bell towers, look-out towers or were they defensive structures, built to protect the sites relics and books during Viking raids? Maybe they were all three! The high-set doors certainly give the impression that some element of defense was considered in their construction.

Internally they had four or five floors, each accessed via a ladder from the floor below. Not every floor had a window, but the top floor usually had four windows which aligned to the cardinal points of the compass. The one at Kells (County Meath) unusually has five windows on the top floor which point at the five gates to the town.

Not many of the eighty plus examples left are full height these days. Many crumbled and were taken down for safety purposes. Some, however, are still very impressive inded with Kilmacduagh (County Galway) reaching an incredible 35m tall.

Originally all of them would have had a conical roof and those that still possess this feature give the impression of being ready to blast off into space.

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Sunday, 12th November 2006

I do like these crosses and I've wanted to come back with the time to look at them properly. The carvings on the sides of the Tower Cross are incredible and the west cross is equally as stunning.

Don't just drive through Kells - stop and look around, there's some great stuff here.

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Random Gazetteer

A Selection of Other High Crosses

About Coordinates Displayed

This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.

Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.

Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.

The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.

UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.

ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.

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