Roscrea High Cross, Co. Tipperary
Location: The high cross sits in the center of Roscrea, east of N 62 and northwest
of N7. The cross is part of an old monastic complex that is now bisected by the road to Portlaoise, with the facade
of the old church and the much-weathered high cross directly across the street from the roundtower.
Originally located in the grounds of St Cronan's church, the high cross in Roscrea consists of two fragments
of a twelfth century cross mounted with a modern section of the shaft linking them together.
Standing at a height of approximately three meters (including the modern section of shaft), the cross was
decorated with scriptural panels now too worn to interpret. The west face bears a crucifixion scene
in high relief on the head with three panels of badly worn animal interlace below. It is possible that the ring may
not have been complete and the arms might have held angelic figures. The head of the east face of the Cross bears
another high relief figure holding a crozier, thought to be a depiction of St Cronan. On the shaft are four worn panels.
The top panel is possibly a horse with two panels of interlace below it. Probably the most interesting of these panels
is the the bottom panel which bears figures beside a tree representing Adam and Eve and the Fall of Man. At the bottom
of the shaft on the north side is a large high relief ecclesiastic figure wearing a long garment with a belt.
The bottom of the South side also bears a high relief figure, a Bishop or Abbot carrying a crozier.
Comments:At the time of our visit in 2004, the original 12th century cross was still on the site, though a plaque
stated that the top had been removed for repair and conservation work. A pond is now drained and the adjoining Manor
Mills is being restored to house a simple exhibition on
Monastic Roscrea. As well as housing St Cronan's Cross (the original high cross will be placed inside the mill
exhibition area and a replica placed on its original site), it will also display the ninth century decorated
Roscrea pillar, probably of Monaincha origin. Due to the generosity of Mr George J.J. Fasenfeld, the adjoining
field was donated to Roscrea People Trust and is being landscaped as a public garden around the monastic site.
History:The town of Roscrea stands on the ancient road which ran in part from Tara to Cashel. The monastery
was founded by St. Cronan who died early in the 7th century.
Other Items of Interest: Roscrea Roundtower is situated
across the street from ruins of the high cross, and next to the Black Mills Center, the home of the museum.