Ireland Symbol

Celtic Cross

A comprehensive guide to the Celtic Cross Symbol, a traditional Celtic Symbol. All you need to know about the Celtic Cross which is commonly associated with the wonderful Emerald Isle.

Discover a selection of Information and facts on the Celtic Cross Symbol and read about its meaning and origin.

Learn about the history and origin of Celtic Cross Symbol, a truly  iconic symbol of Ireland.

Find out everything you need to know about the Celtic Cross Symbol!

Irish: 'cros Cheilteach'
English: 'Celtic Cross'

The Celtic Cross Symbol - 'Cros Cheilteach'
The Cross is ultimately the most well known Christian symbol ever! Crosses are the Christian symbol or seal that people all over the world recognise no matter what their religion is and remind Christians everywhere that Jesus died on a cross. Celtic Crosses are beautifully decorated crosses and are found all over Ireland, they are commonly found in church grounds, holy ground and in graveyards all over the country. Celtic crosses feature many different patterns, such as spirals, interlaced ribbons and knots. Unlike Celtic manuscripts they are unlikely to feature mythical animals or plants and instead may have some Christian symbols such as the chi-rho which was originally a pagan symbol adopted by Christians.

Celtic Crosses were carved in stone, a material that is able to stand the test of time. Unlike many other forms of Celtic art such as manuscripts that were lost particularly during the Viking wars of the 9th and 10th centuries some of the stone crosses remain and Muiredach's High Cross (also known as the South Cross) which can be found in the ruined monastic site of 'Mainistir Bhuithe', Buithe's monastery, Monasterboice, County Louth, Ireland is undoubtedly the largest and best preserved ancient cross in Ireland. The Muiredach High Cross is thought to date from the 9th or 10th century.


Origin Theories - Celtic Cross
Irish Legend credits St Patrick with the Celtic cross, its believed he introduced the Celtic cross to the pagans in Ireland who worshipped the Sun God.
St Patrick is believed to have combined the sun with a normal cross to create a Celtic cross

- The Circle was added to the cross to symbolise eternal life

- In order to make the cross more structurally stable for the stonemasons to carve, the circle was added

- The circle represents the pagan god of the sun

- The circle is a symbol of eternity and represents gods unending love

- The four arms of the cross represent:
1. Direction, the points of a compass: North, South, East and West
2. The elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water
3. Man: Mind, heart, Soul and Body
 

Facts about the Celtic Cross Symbol
Irish legend credits St Patrick with the Celtic Cross. It is believed he combined the pagan sun god (the circle) with a traditional Christian cross to create a Celtic cross

Celtic Crosses and High Crosses are not the same! High Crosses mark holy ground (hallowed ground) whereas crosses were used for gravestones

Celtic Crosses are popular nowadays as Jewelry items. Celtic Cross Pendants are worn by Christians all over the world and ornaments in the shape of this beautiful symbol adorn shelves and mantelpieces in many Christian homes

Many of today's decorative items are inspired by the beautiful Celtic Cross: Artwork, Jewelry, Ornaments to name just a few of the items that incorporate the Celtic designs and knot patterns found on Celtic crosses

The Irish for Celtic Cross is 'cros Cheilteach'

The Celtic cross is also known as the Iona Cross

The circle around the cross symbolises eternity or eternal life

Irish Tricolour Flag - Republic of Ireland Banner


One of the oldest surviving Celtic High Crosses in the world can be found in County Louth, Ireland in the remains of an ancient monastery, the cross dates from the 9th or 10th century and is known as Muiredach's cross or the South cross

No-one is sure about the origins of this beautiful symbol! Regardless of its origin, the fact remains it is a truly amazing symbol which the Celtic people of Ireland have claimed for their own and feel proud to display it to mark the graves of their loved ones.

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