Antient Monument at Cashel

Artist(s) : George Holmes (Draughtsman), George Holmes (Engraver)

Depiction of a partially defaced stone cross on a carved rectangular base, with a vertical stay supporting one of the arms. Commonly known as ‘St Patrick’s Cross’, it formerly stood to the south of the cathedral on the Rock of Cashel, and is now located in the Hall of the Vicars-choral.
For a detailed description see Peter Harbison, The High Crosses of Ireland (Bonn: Habelt, 1992), i, p.34, and F. O’Farrell, ‘St Patrick’s Cross, Cashel: a reassessment’, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries, cxxxvi (2006), 99-111. Despite its rather human appearance in Holmes’ depiction, the face at the feet of the standing figure has been identified as an animal head by Harbison.

Inscribed in Image

  • Signature – G. Holmes Sculpt.
  • Caption within boundaries of image – Antient Monument at Cashel.

Image Details

Genre Scientific or Technical illustration
Technique Engravings
Subject(s) Antiquities and archaeological sites
Geographical Location
  • Rock of Cashel - Named locality
  • Cashel - Town or city
  • Tipperary - County
  • Munster - Province
Keywords(s) Antiquities, Archaeological sites, High crosses, Ruins, Sculpture
Colour Monochrome
Dimensions 10 cm x 14.5 cm
Published / created 1801

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account Sketches of some of the Southern Counties of Ireland
Print or manuscript Print
Location of image in copy opp. p. 30
Source copy National Library of Ireland THOM 91414
Alternative source

This is a link to a digital copy hosted by an external website.
Rights Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Related text from travel account

Passing through a low door into an uncovered space, enclosed by walls and towers belonging to the more modern part of the building, we were shewn the mausoleum in [p.27] which Cormac's body was deposited; plain and massy, and, as well as the chapel, very unlike the style of building throughout the other parts of this great ruin. Over the door through which we entered, there is a tablet, on which, in basso relievo, is represented a winged animal, resembling a bull, very rude and uncouth. No inscriptions are to be seen on the tomb. On the outside of the [p.28] building the same fantastical heads are introduced. On the east angle of the north cross stands one of those towers or steeples. [p.29] It seems of a more ancient date than the church, being built of free-stone; and all the other buildings of a black marble. Nothing can exceed the "workmanship of it. The roof is intire; and of jointed stones so admirably put together, that it appears as smooth as the inside of a China bowl. The entrance is not from the ground, but through a long passage [p.30] in the wall of the Apostles' chapel, about 20 feet above the surface of the floor. On the south angle of the cross, at the distance of about 30 feet, is a curious piece of antique sculpture, consisting of a block of granite, five feet square, from which rises another, in some parts perforated, about ten feet high, facing east and west. To the east is a figure of a bishop in his pontificals; probably St. Patrick, (to whom the church was dedicated.) That looking to the west is so defaced, that its subject is doubtful; I imagine it to have been a crucifixion. At this stone the kings of Munster were crowned, war declared, and tribute received. The celebrated Lia Fail (a fatal stone,) was used by the supreme monarchs for the same purposes. The history of this stone is something singular, being still in the use to which it was originally applied. [p.26-30]
Antient Monument at Cashel