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Ullard High Cross, Co. Carlow
Location: From Graiguenamanagh take R 705 north for about 5 kilometers,
then take a right turn sign-posted for Ullard Church. The Church is approximately one kilometer
on this narrow road to the left. The cross is located to the right rear of the ruined church at the bottom
of the graveyard slope and adjacent to a handball court that is built onto an extension of the church.
There is a small carpark with ample room for several cars.
Dimensions and Features: It is impossible to know how tall this 9th century granite cross was originally. In its
present form, three fragments have been joined with a modern cement midpiece of the shaft. It stands
approximately 4 meters high, which may be a close approximation to the original height. The east-facing
fragments are badly eroded, but in proper lighting conditions, the carving reveals an ornamented base
with swirls and interlace and design in seven panels. Above this at the base of the shaft is a small band
of ornamentation below what appears to be figures of six apostles. At the top of the shaft is a depiction of
Adam and Eve under the Tree of Life. The cross head has a deeply carved but unpierced ring. On the left
cross arm is David the Harpist. On the right arm is the Sacrifice of Isaac. At the center is
the Crucifixion and above that is a panel of two figures with a sword or torch between them, possibly St. Paul
and St. Anthony. Extremely eroded, the west face (or the "back") of the cross head bears traces of
interlace ornamentation and possible figure carving as well as the simple outline of the cross surrounded
by the unpierced ring.
History: The monastery here was said to be founded by St. Fiacra in the seventh century,
though the church was not constructed until the 12th century. Since the cross has been
dated to the 9th century, it is more likely to be contemporary with the monastery than the present
Other Items of Interest: Ullard Church has a fine reconstructed early romanesque doorway and a small
carving of what appears to be two people meeting atop the window above the romanesque door. There are several
interesting 18th century headstones in the graveyard here with very simple carving.
A very large boulder in the field to the northwest appears to be protected by a small copse of trees and
contains a substantial bullaun. A second, lower lying boulder nearby contains two bullauns. Near the carpark,
a very mature tree has survived those who have left their initials carved in its trunk.