44mm high and 20mm wide. 6.9g silver weight. 7.9g gold weight. With 18 inch chain.
This cross is a double-sided replica of the original cross. Handmade and hallmarked in Ireland.
The Cross of Muiredach at Monasterboice in Co. Louth is one of the most beautiful
of the Irish High Crosses still standing. At the base of the West side can still
be seen the inscription in Irish "OR DO MUIREDACH LASNDERNAD IN CHROS"
which when translated reads "A prayer for Muiredach, for whom this cross
was made". Most scholars think that this applied to Muiredach, son of
Domhaill, an abbot of Monasterboice who died about AD922.
The main sculpture on the circular head on the west face is an elaborate Crucifixion
scene while on the eastern face there is an even more interesting and elaborate
Last Judgement. The face of the shaft on the west side shows incidents in the
Life of our Lord, incidents from the Old Testament, stories from the lives of
the Saints and symbolic figures. However, the scenes on our High crosses are
not confined to biblical and religious subjects only and there are scenes on
the Muiredach Cross that are open to different interpretations. The scenes on
the shaft of the cross are read from the bottom up. These are said to represent
Christ seized in the Garden; The Incredulity of Thomas is said to be thrusting
his hand into Our Lord’s side; and Christ seated between Peter and Paul, giving
the keys to the one and The Book of the Gospel to the other.
A very different interpretation has also been suggested, particularly by the
late Mr. Henry Morris. This interpretation would see the panel as representing
two Viking soldiers and suggests that the central figure is the Celtic Abbot
whom they are seizing roughly. Above, the same two men with the Viking moustaches
are shown, but now they are wearing ecclesiastical robes, while the central
figure, cleanshaven and with a coronal tonsure as before, has his hand raised
in blessing. At the top, all three ecclesiastics are wearing viking moustaches,
and they have the Keys and the Book of Gospels. those who read the panels this
way say they tell the story of the encounter of the Abbot with the Viking invaders,
the latter’s eventual conversion to Christianity and indeed acceptance as monks
at Monasterboice, and finally the time when one of their number became the Abbot
of the monastery.
There is some historical support for this theory. One of the first permanent
Viking settlements, a fortified stronghold, was made eight miles from Monasterboice
at Annagassan on the Louth coast in AD 840. It is recorded that from there the
Vikings plundered Clonmacnoise in the west in 841 and Armagh in the North in
850. Yet Monasterboice, a couple of hours march away, was never plundered by
them. They remained at Annagassan until 925 and must have had contact with the
monastery. If indeed some of their number became Christians and then Monks,
then Monasterboice’s immunity from attack is explained. There is also evidence
in the Cross itself that the more usual Scriptural explanation of these three
panels is unsatisfactory. While one could accept that the artist might well
show Roman soldiers carrying the weapons of and looking like the dreaded Viking
soldiers, it seems odd to give St. Thomas a Viking moustache. Also if this panel
is showing "doubting Thomas" then Thomas appears to be putting
his hand into a wound on our Lord’s right side, but in the Crucifixion scene,
on the circular head above, our Lord is shown receiving the wound on his left
side. These are small inconsistencies that could have other explanations, but
if the story of the viking converts is accepted the inconsistencies disappear