Back in our car, we headed towards Monasterboice, once a monastic settlement from the 5th century, but now a cemetery with an amazing collection of Celtic crosses.
Despite the ongoing drizzle, we found our way there without trouble. We parked, grabbed our umbrellas, and picked our way into the ruins of this wet wonderland. The monastery was nothing more than crumbling ruins in the midst of an enchanting graveyard, but that didn’t matter. It was the graveyard and its 10th century High Crosses we had come to see.
As we entered, an expanse of the most beautifully carved crosses met our eyes.
An almost intact round tower stood inside, guarding the graves. Next to the tower stood the famous West High Cross, also known as the Tall Cross. At 21 feet, it is one of the largest in Ireland.
Another amazing cross, the Muiredach’s Cross, is 18 feet across and covered with carved scenes from the Bible.
The wind, biting cold, twisted my umbrella into a shaking metal skeleton. But we barely noticed as we scampered wide-eyed through the crosses, crusty with moss and time.
Visiting Monasterboice was a spur of the moment thing — a serendipitous find. I hadn’t even known of its existence until we were at Newgrange and happened to stand in front of a huge wall map showing various nearby sites of interest. After the trip, Gino claimed it was the most favorite place he had seen in Ireland.