Monasterboice — A Serendipitous Find

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.

Ruins of an ancient church on the grounds of Monasterboice

As we entered, an expanse of the most beautifully carved crosses met our eyes.

Over 110 feet tall, this round tower was used by monks as a watch tower and refuge during Viking attacks

Gino marvels at the West High Cross, one of the tallest in Ireland

The West High Cross, also known as the Tall Cross...for good reason

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.

West face of Muiredach's Cross carved with Biblical scenes

Another amazing cross, the Muiredach’s Cross, is 18 feet across and covered with carved scenes from the Bible.

Muiredach's Cross

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.

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