Replica of ancient St Patrick’s Cross erected

Catholic Bishop Noel Treanor and Bishop Harold Miller (Church of Ireland) at the dedication of a replica of an ancient St Patrick's Cross at Down Cathedral
Catholic Bishop Noel Treanor and Bishop Harold Miller (Church of Ireland) at the dedication of a replica of an ancient St Patrick's Cross at Down Cathedral

A replica of an ancient St Patrick’s Cross has been erected close to the patron saint’s grave in Co Down.

The sculpture was unveiled during a short service at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick on Friday.

The original cross was one of the oldest of its kind on the island of Ireland and is thought to have been about four metres high. It was most likely erected in the late 8th/early 9th century.

Drawings from the early 19th century place part of the cross at the traditional site of St Patrick’s grave prior to a large granite stone being placed there.

Three fragments of the original cross remain at the entrance porch of the cathedral.

The replica cross, made by McConnell’s of Kilkeel, is carved out of granite from the same location as the original cross.

The new sculpture will stand opposite the main door of the cathedral at the edge of the graveyard.

Plans to dedicate the cross had to be postponed earlier this year after medieval human remains were discovered at the site.

Friday’s dedication service was attended by Dean of Down, the Very Rev Henry Hull, Church of Ireland Bishop Harold Miller, and Catholic Bishop Noel Treanor.