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As the theory goes, St. Patrick took a symbol important to the pagans, the circular sun symbol and blended it with a Christian cross to make a Celtic Cross. He used the Celtic Cross to introduce Christianity to Ireland’s population while encouraging them to take some oftheir pagan beliefs about nature along with them. The two symbols worked well together structurally too.
The crosses were usually carved out of one large rock and the circle added support to the branches of the cross. Ancient Celts used these High Crosses as a way to tell stories, with whole scenarios carved elaborately on the rock. Standalone Celtic crosses were usually used to mark graves.
Many examples of these Celtic crosses remain today and can be visited. The crosses at Glendalough, the Rock of Cashel and Kilfenora are all popular examples. While the Celtic Cross is an ancient symbol, it still resonates with people today.
We sell marble and china Celtic cross statuettes in our shop and we always find them popular with customers. There’s also a big demand for Celtic cross jewellery, especially necklaces.
I think people enjoy expressing their faith while acknowledging their heritage, whether their heritage is Irish or not. The Celtic Cross brings together religious faith and a spirituality encompassing nature and the natural world. Last year, it was discovered that a recently deceased man in Donegal had pain-stakingly planted two different kind of trees in his forest, so the contrast would appear in the shape of a Celtic Cross when viewed from above. And it was no small effort, the cross is 70 metres wide and 100 metres in length. Just imagine the amount of planning and effort that went into creating something that obviously meant so much to Mr. Emmery.
While he has sadly passed away, the cross has been named the Emmery Cross in his memory and experts believe the cross will remain visible for up to 70 years. So, we Celts aren’t finished making Celtic crosses just yet! Join with us in keeping the heritage alive.