St. Patrick's Cross

Despite the fact that St. Patrick's Cross was created in Ireland during the 12th Century, it was not built in the traditional Irish style of the period. The Cross, which is held on the Rock, is built in the Latin Style, which had two pillars running parallel with the main body of the cross, with supports at either side. One face of the monument depicts Christ's crucifixion, while the other shows the image of an abbot or bishop, perhaps representing Patrick himself.

The Cross is carved from sandstone, and is today in the undercroft of the Vicar's Choral. A concrete replica now stands where the original was placed until the 1970s, when, to protect it from the elements, it was moved indoors.

The base of the Cross is thought by some to be older than the monument on top of it, and the theory has been put forward, perhaps erroneously, that it acted as the inauguration seat for the Kings of Munster. Recent studies, however, have indicated that the base dates from the same period as the Cross it supports. The interior of the base is hollow to a depth of about a foot. This hollow may have acted as a repository for relics or other valuables.

Fantasy and Folklore


Anything associated with St. Patrick has given rise to many legends, myths and traditions, and this Latin Cross is no different. The Cross is said to have healing powers, particularly of dental ailments. Much to the interest of bachelors and spinsters, a ritual performed around it supposedly induces a swift marriage.

The vailidity of these claims, however, like those that deal with the meaning and symbolism of the Cross, are very much open to question.

Source - Dúchas, "The Rock of Cashel"

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