Education Through Replicas

High Cross replicas in the exhibition

Nation building

At the turn of the nineteenth century a tide of intellectual, cultural, political and economic changes in Ireland and a growing need to establish a national, non-British identity with its own distinct cultural and artistic traditions coincided with the discovery of a number of key treasures from Ireland’s Golden Age.

Museums and replicas

New archaeological societies and the opening of museums communicated the newfound wealth of the island’s heritage to the public both at national and local level. As awareness of the heritage of the island of Ireland increased, new techniques in the areas of plaster copies, electrolysis, photography and lithography were employed to aid in the replication of the works of early medieval stonemasons, metal smiths and scribes. The ringed high cross, along with other key pieces of metal work, soon became major icons of Ireland’s unique heritage to Irish and international audiences.

The museum tradition of displaying replicas


High Cross replicas in the exhibition

In a continuation of this process of educating people through replicas, the National Museum hopes you have enjoyed exploring the 100-year-old plaster replicas of these six Irish high crosses and hopes that this experience will aid you in your appreciation of high crosses throughout the country and the original metal treasures which can be found in the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology.

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