High Crosses

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There are many beautiful stone crosses in Ireland today. Some of the stone crosses are made of sandstone and have been taken into museums to protect them from the weather. These crosses are sometimes called Celtic crosses as they have Celtic patterns and circles on top of a Christian cross.

Many crosses have lovely scenes from the Old or New Testaments of the Bible. These crosses are known as High Crosses. The drawings on them helped the monks to teach people about the gospel. The drawings were useful as the people could not read but they could understand the pictures. As well as scenes from the Bible, the sculptures on the crosses sometimes contained a message. For example, pictures of St. John the Baptist were used on the crosses to give the message that it was important to be baptised. Many High Crosses were made in the ninth century (800 AD to 899 AD). These crosses from the ninth century had more biblical scenes on them than crosses from other periods, particularly the twelfth century.