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Photo of Monasterboice

Muirdach's Cross: West Face Detail

Detail of the western face of Muirdach's Cross. The cross dates from 900-923 AD and stands 5.5m (16 feet) tall. The top relief shows Christ enthroned in glory, giving the keys of heaven to St. Peter (Traditio Clavum) and a book to St. Paul (Traditio Legis). In the middle relief, Christ (center) gestures to doubting Thomas, who places his finger in Christ's wound. The figure on the right holds a book and might be St. John the Evangelist, who recorded the story. The bottom relief depicts the arrest of Christ, with Christ flanked by two sword-wielding figures. An alternative interpretation is that it is the mocking of Christ, since he wears a robe and carries a sceptre. At the base of the cross are two cats and an inscription that translates: "A prayer for Muiredach for whom (or by whom) the cross was made."

Photo © Holly Hayes.