Carndonagh Cross

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Name Carndonagh Cross County Donegal Nearest Town Cardonagh Access Road R244 About

The High Cross, known as St. Patrick’s or Donagh Cross, is located in the town of Carndonagh on the Carndonagh Peninsula in North East Donegal and has a simple and pleasing shape with short arms curving gently from the shaft. Its decoration is unusual, combining bands of interlaced ribbon with simplified figures in low relief, shown frontally and in profile.

The most prominent scene on the cross is a Crucifixion accompanied by two figures representing either Stephaton and Longinus, sponge and lance bearers, or the two thieves crucified with Christ. Below it are three figures wearing cowls and long robes, These may represent the holy women who visited Christ’s tomb after the Resurrection. The two pillars are cared in the same style as the cross and apart from spiral ornament on the north pillar are covered exclusively with figures and other representational images.

The harpist on the north pillar, representing King David, is the only figure that can be identified with any certainty. The figure of the warrior on the same pillar may also be David although it could alternatively represent Goliath. The remaining side of the north pillar contains a baffling image of a large fish with a small bird, perhaps an eagle, perched on its head.

On the south pillar is a figure holding a bell and a book or satchel. Below this is a crozier, shepherd’s crook or walking staff lying on its side. This figure is usually identified by the episcopal emblem as a saintly bishop or abbot. However, it has been suggested that the crozier is a walking staff and that the figure represents a pilgrim or a pilgrim saint.

The now familiar Carndonagh Community School logo was inspired by the Carndonagh Cross which sits immediately outside the school grounds and is the largest Community School in Ireland.

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