Do you or your family have Celtic Crosses? What does the Celtic Cross mean to you? Is it a personal expression of your faith, or perhaps your Irish heritage? Is it a cherished memento of a trip to Ireland, a reminder of a wonderful holiday here? One thing is for sure, we can find Celtic Crosses wherever we find people of Irish descent.
The Celtic Cross is one of the most universally recognised symbols of Ireland. Even to this day, over 200 original historical examples of carved stone Celtic Crosses still exist in Ireland. You can find contemporary graveyard monuments in every county throughout the land.
But did you know that the origin and symbolic meaning of the Celtic Cross is shrouded in mystery? It is still a subject of great debate, even amongst scholars and researchers today.
No-one really knows the origins of the Celtic Crosses.
Christianity arrived in Ireland in the mid-5th century and rudimentary circular crosses appeared from the earliest times. The form and intricacy of design later evolved into the impressive High Crosses of the 8th-9th century onward. How did these designs come about? What did they mean?
In Irish tradition, St Patrick made the Celtic Cross during his mission to convert the “heathen Irish natives” to Christianity. He took their circular symbol for sun/ moon worship and overlaid it with a cross to signify Christ’s dominion. It was widely recognised as a Celtic Christian symbol thereafter. The circle represents God’s everlasting protection and love for his people, and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.