Religion and landscape

Early Christian settlers brought a new way of life to Ireland. They developed many monastic settlements and these helped to spread their religion and culture to the island. Ogham writing was introduced. It consisted of 25 characters, represented by a single line or a group of lines. These lines were engraved on standing stones as inscriptions commemorating people/events. These inscriptions formed an early version of Irish and these stones became very popular.

Cross-shaped slabs proved a natural progression from the inscribed standing stones. They gradually evolved to the more traditional cross shape and became high crosses. Often the presence of high crosses, bullaun stones and slabs were the only indication of a religious settlement with the original wooden structure of the church having long since disappeared.

Jamestown Cross is early Christian, possibly from before the ninth century. It is located at a burial place, together with a well. The cross is 4 feet high and 2 feet wide. On the southwest side of the cross there is a rather rude looking human figure, it may have been designed as a full figure or just part of one.

The cross is now located in the middle of Stepaside Golf Course, a good example of man adapting the landscape to suit his own ends. The land was chosen as being ideal for a golf course creating a need to develop the site. This process subjugated the original purpose of the landscape; religious associations.

Kilgobbin High Cross supposedly dates from the ninth or tenth century but was not discovered until the nineteenth century. Taylor's map of the Environs of Dublin, lists the cross at its present position, this map dates from 1816.

The cross is 2.5 metres high and has a base called a bullaun. This was a feature of early Christian crosses. It may have been placed on the site without the cross for many years. One arm of the cross is unfortunately missing.

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