Still in One Piece After 1000 Years
Pete Jonno is getting cross in Ardboe
So, you’ve always wondered where you might find the best preserved 10th Century High Cross in Ireland? Well, wonder no more because Ardboe has the answer.
Ardboe cross sits on the western shore of Lough Neagh next to the ruined Ardboe Abbey, a mile outside of the village. The Cross stands more than five metres tall and includes 22 separate sculptured panels, each depicting biblical images from the Old and New Testaments.
The scenes depicted range from Adam & Eve to the Miracle at Cana and would have been used to pass on the teachings of the bible to those that could not read or write. The High Cross would also have been used as a place for prayer, religious meetings and for peaceful reflection.
What makes the Ardboe cross so unusual is that it is still the original, complete piece of stone that was installed at the site over 1000 years ago. Similar crosses at Donaghmore and Armagh are either incomplete or composites of more than one cross pieced together in more recent years.
The Cross bears testimony to high levels of monastic activity and craftsmanship in the Ardboe area and suggests a rich Christian heritage in the area dating back ten centuries.
With its situation on the banks of the Lough it is perhaps not difficult to see why the area was seen as being particularly blessed by God’s bounty, and it is certainly worth a visit for anyone seeking to reminded of the skills and achievements of some of Tyrone’s earliest educators.