Intricate carved Celtic crosses, such as those in Kilkenny, are unique symbols of Ireland. Cong, Killmallock, the Aran Islands, Ahenny, Moone, Kilfenora, Kells, Clonmacnoise, Carrowmore, and the Rock of Cashel are where you’ll fine the greatest number of these crosses. Some are in the heart of town, others dot the countryside keeping watch over grazing sheep or a lone cow.
Regardless of placement each is an ancient, sacred site. You may stumble upon a cluster of crosses by accident, or you may see a photo of one that tugs your heart and pulls you off your planned route to pay it a visit.
The sight of a Celtic cross often stops you in your tracks—transfixed. Allow yourself to feel the connection between you and those who came before you. What is it in this carved stone, what is it about these symbols that touch us although we’re separated by thousands of years? Feel the power of the land and its eternal pulse as it moves with your own heartbeat.
Now notice the designs, particularly the spirals. Are they turning sunwise or counter-clockwise? Those who carved the spirals on the brilliant stones at Newgrange were the ancestors of those who cut spirals and handprints into the high cross at Kilkenny. Stop and wonder: What ceremonies and rituals occurred at Newgrange, and how were these symbols passed down? Are the designs retained memories, indelibly fixed in our DNA? And why is it that identical symbols are carved on rocks in the American Southwest, Ireland, the Neolithic caves in France, and on sheer walls in Australia?
When you visit a Celtic cross, you are visiting the creative minds of your ancestors. And that is surely worth spending some time on your journey to Ireland.