Ardboe Cross, one of the finest examples of an ancient high
cross in Ireland
The Cross is a national monument which dates from the 10th century and
is believed to be the first high cross in Ulster and stands on the western shore of Lough Neagh
In the eighteenth century, pilgrimages were made to the cross and the devout
moved round it on their knees while praying.
The Cross is 18.5 feet / 5.6m high with arms of 3.5 feet/ 1m wide. The
shaft is 58 cm wide and 35cm deep and part of the upper portion of the ring is missing.
The religious motifs sculptured into the stone cross are very weatherworn,
and while some of the designs are quite clear, others are not so obvious and are open to more than one interpretation.
The east (Old Testament) side depicts Adam and Eve; the sacrifices of Isaac;
Daniel and the lions; the children of the fiery furnace; a figure with bell and crozier surrounded by people; and Christ in
glory with scales and flames beneath.
On the west
(New Testament) side are: the visit of the Magi; the miracle of Cana; the multiplication of loaves and fishes; the entry to
Jerusalem; and the arrest and crucifixion.
On the south side are: Cain and Abel; David struggling with the lion; David
killing Goliath; and the raven feeding Paul and Anthony in the Egyptian desert.
The scenes on the north side are less easy to interpret, but the baptism
and anointing of David, the judgement of Solomon, and the slaughter of the innocents have all been suggested.