|Kilree High Cross|
Kilree Highcross, Co. Kilkenny
East and north face
West and south face
Location: In the farmers field behind the round tower and ruined church, outside the current enclosure. About four km southeast of the village of Kells on a side road just off of R 697, west of Stonyford on N 10. The side road is signposted for Kells Priory as well as Kilree. About 14 km due south of Kilkenny. The round tower lies at the back of a fairly heavily wooded cemetery, bisected by the wall that separates the the complex from surrounding open fields, but should be signposted. There is a break in the wall behind the tower to access the field below. As always, be mindful and respectful of any livestock in the field.
Dimensions: 2.75 m. high standing on a rounded, slightly stepped pyramidal base. The base appears to be ornamented with various hunting scenes or men on horseback.
Features:This ringed cross is composed of sandstone and has a tenon but no cap-stone. The badly weathered surface of the cross is covered with bosses and ornamental carving. The narrow sides have double moldings
East face - Hunting scene with horses on cross arms which is almost completely worn away.
North face - Cross hatch design on edge of lower "circle"
West face - (facing away from the round tower) Daniel in the lions' den below central boss but almost completely worn away. 5 bosses total with designs around them.
South face - Carvings on end of arm almost worn away. Cross hatch design worn.
Comments: The cemetery itself is heavily wooded, giving it a hushed, surrealistic and almost haunted feel in direct contrast to the brightness of the open field which must be crossed to reach the enclosure surrounding the high cross. The low iron post and chain fence is a reasonable compromise to keep livestock from damaging the cross further, while allowing reasonable space for photographs.
History: The roundtower doorway faces the ruin of an early church with pronounced antae, though nothing appears to be known of the monastery here. The church and lands were transferred to the Priory of Kells in the 13th century. Until then, they had been the property of the dean and chapter of the Ossory.
Other Items of Interest: Kilree Round Tower
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