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Monasterboice: Muirdach's Cross: East Face

Muirdach's Cross: East Face

East face of Muirdach's Cross, named for the abbot identified in an inscription on the base. It dates from 900-923 AD and stands 5.5m (16 feet) tall. The carvings have not all been certainly identified but, from the bottom up, they appear to represent: the Fall of Adam and Eve and the murder of Abel; David and Goliath; Moses bringing water from the rock to the Israelites; the Three Magi bearing gifts to Mary and Jesus. The center of the cross on the eastern face depicts the Last Judgment, with the saved (led by David with a harp) on Christ's right and the damned on his left; above that is St. Paul in the desert. These seemingly unrelated scenes may be connected by the themes of sin, judgment and atonement.

Credit: Holly Hayes