Irish High Crosses - NOW CLOSED

Exhibition closed 30th September 2012

Irish High Crosses Exhibition

Explore the Irish High Cross in a temporary exhibition which brings together one hundred year old plaster-of-Paris casts along with a selection of replicas of early Medieval treasures.

Examine the six replicas of High Crosses of early Christian Ireland and compare them with the decoration applied to metalwork and manuscripts of the period. These crosses represent some of the finest examples of early medieval sculpture from Ireland. 

A unique Irish art form was developed between ninth to the twelfth centuries A.D, with artists working in metal, velum and wood as well as stone. This period included the high point of Irish art known as 'The Golden Age' of Ireland.

The high crosses are some of the greatest examples of how powerful religious communities supported and encouraged art in early Christian Ireland. These six crosses repesent the most significant stages in high cross development and include two crosses from Ahenny, Co. Tipperary, two from Monasterboice, Co. Louth and single crosses from Drumcliffe, Co. Sligo and Dysart O’Dea, Co. Clare.

The centrepiece of the exhibtion is the spectacular 6.5-metre high tall cross from Monasterboice Co, Louth.

An exhibition on tour

In the 19th and 20th centuries there was a growing interest in heritage and archaeology across Europe. Enthusiasts began to make reproductions of ancient objects to educate audiences at home and abroad. Of all the Irish reproductions manufactured at this time, the most impressive are the plaster-of-Paris casts made of the Irish high crosses, copies of which were transported and exhibited in England, America and Australia.

These replicas were exhibited throughout the last century in the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology.  In recent years this selection of six high cross casts were displayed in Nagoya, Japan, continuing a tradition of using reproductions to teach people about ancient times and places. More than two million saw them in Japan. Now you can see the crosses at Collins Barracks.

Exhibition booklet

High Crosses exhibition booklet coverLinks to external website

You can purchase the booklet to accompany the exhibition onlineLinks to external website or in the Collins Barracks shop for €6. Published 2010, it has 55 pages with 157 full colour images.


Please note: this exhibition is now closed

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